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John Kinsella John Kinsella i(A3690 works by) (a.k.a. John Vincent Kinsella)
Also writes as: John Heywood ; 'Ern Jr. Malley'
Born: Established: 1963 Perth, Western Australia, ;
Gender: Male
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John Kinsella is the founding editor of the international poetry magazine Salt. He is international editor of The Kenyon Review (USA). He is also a consultant editor to Westerly (CSAL, University of Western Australia) and the Cambridge correspondent for Overland (Melbourne, Australia).

Kinsella has been a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge since 1998. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. In 2001, he was appointed Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College (Ohio, USA) for the spring semester; he later became Professor of English there. He is also Adjunct Professor to Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, where he is a Principal of the Landscape and Language Centre. In 2005, Kinsella proposed a School of Environmental Poetics and Creativity.

John Kinsella grew up in the city but also spent much of his youth, including three years of schooling, in country towns and on farms around Mullewa, Geraldton and in the south-west of Western Australia. Following studies at the University of Western Australia, he travelled internationally for a number of years. Kinsella is a vegan, a pacifist, an anti-nationalist and a supporter of animal rights. As a cultural commentator, he has made statements in support of Indigenous rights, including land rights, and gender respect.

Most Referenced Works


  • John Kinsella won an Australian Literature Board Grant for 1996, but forfeited it and took up his Young Artists Creative Fellowship instead.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Supervivid Depastoralism Sydney : Vagabond Press , 2021 21864835 2021 selected work poetry

'I don't sleep much or very well (I have a recent book of poetry entitled Insomnia!), but, when I do, I often have supervivid dreams. It is said that in the time of Covid-19, many people are speaking of having more vivid dreams than usual, and though the poems in this manuscript are not-specifically 'Covid-19 poems', at certain points of the manuscript they certainly make contact with this overwhelming reality and condition of crisis. But this is essentially a book in a lifecycle of trying to confront and consider the impacts of colonial agribusiness mono agricultural practices on Australia, and how it is or isn't possible to write about these issues within the conventions of the pastoral tradition of literature. Can 'pastoralism' and environmentalism intersect in meaningful ways or is it all a colonial ruse? As a committed environmentalist and human rights landrights justice campaigner, my poetry necessarily considers the place I work out of (largely wheatbelt Western Australia), and the problems of writing poetry 'about' rurality and ecology, as well as addressing the ongoing colonialism. This new book is an attempt to push my anti, post, counter, and radical pastoral to the point where it also becomes a means of considering where agricultural culpabilities intersect with personal histories and behaviours, where creativity that comes out of a critique of invasive and damaging wrongs is in itself up for question. So this is a work of self-critique, questioning, and also aspiration to vividly confront and find ways through this crisis of presence. The 'Australian Pastoral' is a construct, a propaganda device that suits all sorts of oppressive modes, and is easily a place to retreat into even when it is being questioned: I am trying to bring all this into eclogic discussion, to contest it further as part of a long and linguistically diverse process of contestation. This book 'connects' with other books on 'pastoral' I have written over the decades, including other recent work (in progress) on odes and eclogues (longer pieces largely) - but this is a collection of shorter poems. The book could be subtitled: Eclogix.' (Publication summary)

2022 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
Exoskeletons i "Words are less inherently", 2021 single work poetry
— Appears in: Island , no. 161 2021; (p. 6-7)
2020-2021 runner-up Gwen Harwood Memorial Poetry Prize
y separately published work icon Pushing Back Yarraville : Transit Lounge , 2021 20879395 2021 single work novel

'‘The tall trees nearby called them up and red-tailed black cockatoos carried messages to them that they told no one else about.’

'Pushing Back is John Kinsella’s most haunting and timely fiction to date. It is populated with eccentric, compelling characters, drifters, unlikely friendships, the silences of dissolving relationships, haunted dwellings and lonely highways, the ghosts of cleared bushland and the threats of right-wing nationalists and senseless destruction.

'A couple make love in an abandoned asbestos house, a desperate carpet cleaner beholden to the gig economy begs a financially distressed client not to cancel his booking, an addict cannot bear to see his partner without the watch he once gave her, a mother casts her shearer son’s ashes on the property on which he worked, fascists pile into a little red car with the intent of terrorising tourists on the Nullarbor, a man more at home with machinery than people rescues a drowning kitten.

'Yet throughout this assured distillation of contemporary Australian life, empathy rises like the red-tailed black cockatoos that appear and reappear, nature coalescing with the human spirit, the animals, the trees, the land, the people pushing back. These stories are at once disturbing, tender and hopeful.  

'‘One of the nation’s most significant living writers.’ Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, Australian Book Review'

Source : publisher's blurb

2022 longlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
2022 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Fiction

Known archival holdings

National Library of Australia (ACT)
University of Western Australia University of Western Australia Library (WA)
Last amended 16 Nov 2021 13:37:56
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