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y separately published work icon Jam Tree Gully : Poems selected work   poetry  
  • Author:agent John Kinsella
Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 Jam Tree Gully : Poems
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In this daring new collection, Australia's preeminent environmental poet confronts the legacy of Thoreau's Walden. With Walden as his inspiration, John Kinsella moved with his family back to rural Australia, where he wrote the poems in this original collection exploring the nature of our responsibility and connection to the land.' (Publisher's blurb)


  • Dedication:

    for Tracy and Tim who live here,
    for John and Mum who helped build the place

    The author wishes to acknowledge
    the traditional owners of the land he writes.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      W. W. Norton ,
      2012 .
      image of person or book cover 3711824374036365851.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 157p.
      • Publication date: November 2011
      ISBN: 9780393341409 (pbk.)

Works about this Work

Death of the Parrot, Anti-Pastoral and the Anthropocene : Towards a Topopoetic Reading of John Kinsella Wang Guanglin , 2022 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , vol. 46 no. 4 2022; (p. 419-433)

'John Kinsella is a prolific writer from Western Australia. This article takes a topopoetic approach to considering his poetry and poetics by connecting studies of Yi-Fu Tuan’s topophilia and the paradoxical views of Zhuangzi and Thoreau in illustrating some tensions between language and place, connection and disconnection, and placement and displacement in Kinsella’s writings. In particular, I discuss Kinsella’s affective ties to the land and his anti-pastoral stance by parodying the European settlement on Country traditionally owned by Indigenous peoples. His poetry presents a dystopian world that challenges the old European sense of a pastoral society. By making connections between a Chinese sense of the earth and Kinsella’s poetics, I argue that as paradoxical as Kinsella's poetics may be, his writings, imbued with influences from different sources, demonstrate an effort to save the worsening earth.' (Publication abstract)

On Genre Tom Bristow , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: Angelaki , vol. 26 no. 2 2021; (p. 104-112)

'Paradoxically, loss is the only unconditional possession possible in elegy. A deep understanding of this phenomenon is to be found in long prose forms and lyricism of contemporary Australian writers. Turning the history of literature – from the Medieval to the contemporary – into a body of work more relevant to our ecological plight, in Kinsella’s corpus genres are consequences of textual events operating within an organic totality. This totality deconstructs the reference point for elegy: loss as the condition of thought and experience. Sidestepping while matrixially reconfiguring traditional and experimental forms of writing, Kinsella’s engagement with genre exemplifies not only the undoing of the codes that constitute all possible readings of a text; it is an implicit critique of speech acts that tend to “fix” life into static nouns, reflecting our culture’s ideology of appropriation of nature. Within a critical counterpoint to appropriation (namely, possession), Australian writing can be read as both urging readers to remain alert to pastoral precedents yet avoid projecting genre onto texts. To some extent, elegy has been decolonised in Australian pastoral.' (Publication abstract)

Poetry and “Post-Mabo Lysis” : John Kinsella on Property and Living on Aboriginal Land Kieran Dolin , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: Angelaki , vol. 26 no. 2 2021; (p. 32-42)

'John Kinsella is an important literary witness to the acknowledgement of native title in Australia, and Indigenous rights more generally. His writings also bear witness to continuing forces of resistance to those rights in Australian society. This paper traces Kinsella’s engagement with the Mabo case, the 1992 legal decision that recognised native title as part of Australian law, and rejected the fiction that Australia was terra nullius at the time of British colonisation. Focusing on “Graphology: Canto 5” and other texts, it argues that Kinsella presents a sustained reflection on the implications and the limits of this decision, in law and in wider cultural understandings and practices, through poetic allusions, paratexts and personal commentary. His writing since the mid-1990s reveals an acute awareness of how imported concepts of property and law are concealed within Western poetic traditions such as pastoral. To counter the effects of this ideology, Kinsella interpolates and appropriates terms from the discourse of property law, juxtaposing them against other ways of understanding and living in the land. In several collections, but especially in Jam Tree Gully, he seeks to develop an ethically reflective account of ownership of land taken from others, critiquing the dominant idea of property and articulating an alternative way of living in the land based on co-existence. The rights of the dispossessed traditional owners are central to a new mode of “writing the land.”' (Publication abstract)

Agoras John Kinsella , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: PAN , no. 12 2016;

'I have a poem in mind. A 'late' Jam Tree Gully poem. It will be called 'Agora' and I will get to its first lines shortly.

'Why late? I haven't ceased being connected with Jam Tree Gully, nor have I ceased writing it. Maybe because I am thinking about its spaces in different ways now, from afar. I often write from 'afar', and as Tom Bristow has highlighted, I write poetry of 'in situ' and also 'at a distance', but as I have said to him, this is a complex equation with no binaries; they are both elements of the 'cloud' that makes up 'International Regionalism'. And I am not simply co-opting a techno-fetish by saying 'cloud', though I might be ironizing it. In essence, the ecologies I construct around the lens to biosphere collapse, the 'damage done' as I wrote in The New Arcadia (WW Norton, 2005), are silhouetted through the costs of technologizing. I have written 'neo-Luddite' texts in the past, deploring what I see as unnecessary technologies-especially those where 'product' takes precedence over 'necessity'. Under the rubric 'necessity' I would put certain medical advances, the basic technologies of sustaining human life (from the shovel, scissors, through to-maybe- comparatively low-impact modes of transport that don't exploit animals). Advances in computer technology are largely driven by corporate capitalism, and change is interminably linked to sales and profit. All advances, all product developments, cost the biosphere. My aim is constantly to reduce the ironies of consumption-to own less, to 'change' product less, to resists the sales pitch. For me, place is entirely contiguous with how it is or isn't 'sold'.' (Introduction)

Is There an Australian Pastoral Poetry? Andrew Taylor , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , November no. 14 2015; (p. 38-51)
Pastoral was common as a European literary genre from the Renaissance until the eighteenth century. It existed in other artistic forms as well, especially in the visual arts, and after its demise as a distinct genre elements of it persisted into the twentieth century, for example in music. With the colonial spread of European culture the pastoral influence also extended into other countries, with a mixed fate. Recently, the term Pastoral has come back into prominence in literature in English, not only in Great Britain but also, notably in the USA and Australia, with the growth of writing motivated by ecological involvement with the natural world, especially landscape. This has led to re-definitions of the term Pastoral in the last few decades. A number of Australian poets are looked at to see whether, and how, their writing about landscape might relate to, or incorporate elements of the Pastoral. The Australian poet John Kinsella, in particular, has been a widely published spokesperson for a new definition of Pastoral. His published works trace his move from a politically activist anti-colonialist redefinition of Pastoral towards a quieter, more harmonious, and essentially ethical engagement with the natural world.
A Triumph from a Mature Voice Airica Parker , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 26 no. 1 2012; (p. 111)

— Review of Jam Tree Gully : Poems John Kinsella , 2012 selected work poetry
A Poet at Home with Politics Kate Middleton , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 3-4 August 2013; (p. 24)

— Review of Jam Tree Gully : Poems John Kinsella , 2012 selected work poetry
From Microcosoms to Cosmologies Melissa Ashley , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Poetry Journal , vol. 3 no. 1 2013; (p. 82-86)

— Review of The World Last Night M. T. C. Cronin , 2012 selected work poetry ; Jam Tree Gully : Poems John Kinsella , 2012 selected work poetry
Fragmentary Introspective Observations : Animals, Emotions and Location in John Kinsella’s Poetry Tom Bristow , 2013 single work essay
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 6 no. 1 2013;

— Review of Jam Tree Gully : Poems John Kinsella , 2012 selected work poetry ; The Jaguar's Dream : Translations, Adaptations, Versions, Extrapolations, Interpolations, Afters, Takes and Departures John Kinsella , 2012 selected work poetry
Turning : John Kinsella’s Poetic Take on Those Seeking Asylum 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Crikey , January 2014;

— Review of Jam Tree Gully : Poems John Kinsella , 2012 selected work poetry

'Award-winning poet John Kinsella offers a unique take on the asylum seeker situation befuddling politicians and the public. Crikey publishes his new poem Turning.'

Standing up to Aggressors John Kinsella , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Activist Poetics : Anarchy in the Avon Valley 2010; (p. 16-22)
De-Mapping & Reconnoitring Notions of Boundaries - Mutually Said : Blogging & Acting John Kinsella , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Activist Poetics : Anarchy in the Avon Valley 2010; (p. 137-162)
Coda : Visitors John Kinsella , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Activist Poetics : Anarchy in the Avon Valley 2010; (p. 184-187)
International Regionalism as American-Australian Dialogue : William James and Henry David Thoreau in John Kinsella’s Jam Tree Gully Poems Tom Bristow , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology , vol. 2 no. 2013; (p. 57-74)
'Henry David Thoreau's Walden; or Life in the Woods (1854) is America's nineteenth century scriptural call to establish the foundations of nationhood. The epic event of America underwritten by English literature, politics and economics, alongside the idea to self-realise anew and afresh is pregnant with Transcendentalist notions of self-reliance: the triumph of principles and latent convictions that constitute enlightenment within the self.

In Jam Tree Gully Poems (2011) poet John Kinsella mimics this experimental temperate consciousness to outline degrees of freedom that are yoked to a satirical position on the extent that nature (or humans for that matter) can be autonomous. For Thoreau, free will is answered in terms of improvement - to environment and to the spirit. Improvements are accounted for by framing action and events over time. An issue at stake here is: to what extent does Thoreau's desire to project a Protestant sense of improvement rely upon an externality operating on micro and macro scales that is subservient to human experience? In Walden, seasons do not come first; human emotion and intellect precede chronotopic and atmospheric abstractions. Human autonomy within the midst of nature - the central focus of Kinsella's and Thoreau's experiment - offers a Romanticism, a mode of feeling rather than a choice of subject.' (Author's abstract)
Open Page : John Kinsella 2013 single work interview
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June no. 352 2013;
Last amended 27 Sep 2019 11:26:28
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