'Fast, Loose Beginnings is a racy anecdotal memoir of John Kinsella's meetings with the great and colourful men and women of poetry. Since his late teens, Kinsella has been rubbing shoulders and working with a host of acclaimed poets. The book opens with Kinsella on a bender in search of Dorothy Hewett, and goes on to tell the story of his friendships and massive fallings-out through the highs and lows of addiction.
'In this contentious account, Kinsella weaves his impressions of these figures personally, with a lively and incisive commentary on their place within the broader literary culture. Here, in good company, are intimate portraits of Dorothy Hewett, Les Murray, American literary critic Harold Bloom and French philosopher Jacques Derrida, as they have never been seen before. As a highly respected poet and critic, Kinsella brings clarity and biting irreverence to the writer's life, making this encounter with literature vividly alive.' (Publisher's blurb)
'I’ve got the kind of mind that jumps around, makes leaps to places it shouldn’t, then twists back to the starting point again.” So warns John Kinsella, Australian poet, academic, critic and editor, at the beginning of this memoir. It is a sentence that might chill the heart of a reader setting out to tackle the prose of a poet, with its promise of confusion and entanglement, but in fact this book is refreshingly lucid, at times almost childishly so.' (Introduction)