David McCooey reviews 'Graphology Poems 1995–2015, Vols I-III' by John Kinsella

David McCooey reviews 'Graphology Poems 1995–2015, Vols I-III' by John Kinsella

Graphology Poems 1995–2015, vols I-III

by John Kinsella

Volume I, 268 pp, 9780734051639 Volume II, 281 pp, 9780734051646 Volume III, 246 pp, 9780734051653

John Kinsella, who lives mostly in Australia, is a transnational literary powerhouse. Poet, fiction writer, playwright, librettist, critic, academic, collaborator, editor, publisher, activist; his activities and accomplishments are manifold. He is best known as a poet, and the publication of Graphology Poems 1995–2015 – a mammoth (and ongoing) discontinuous series of poems published in three volumes – brings together two decades of work.

The collection has ‘a tentative beginning and no possible closure’, as Kinsella writes in his prefatory note. The poems are numbered sequentially, though there are numerical gaps and leaps. There are thematic sections (such as the ‘Faith’ and ‘Forgery’ poems), and the final volume includes a number of appendices and ‘Mutations’. Like the landscapes Kinsella so often writes about, Graphology Poems is sprawling, sometimes messy, often imposing, and always compelling.

The pseudoscience of graphology is the study of handwriting, especially as a tool to analyse character, attribute authorship, or determine an author’s state of mind. For Kinsella, it is a beautifully ambiguous and generative master trope, putting in train numerous characteristic concerns: identity, authenticity, memory, place, representation, power, and textuality itself.

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Published in March 2017, no. 389
David McCooey

David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature's 'Best Writing Award'. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). His album of 'poetry soundtracks', Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His forthcoming poetry collection, Star Struck, will be published in late 2016 by UWA Publishing. His website is: www.davidmccooey.com

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