John Kinsella

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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John Kinsella (born 1963) is an Australian poet, novelist, critic, essayist and editor. His writing is strongly influenced by landscape and he espouses an 'international regionalism' in his approach to place. He has also frequently worked in collaboration with other writers, artists and musicians.


  • 1 Early life and work
  • 2 Later poetry and writing
  • 3 Work as an editor and critic
  • 4 Controversy over memoir
  • 5 External links
  • 6 Footnotes

Early life and work

Kinsella was born in Perth, Western Australia. His mother was a poet and he began writing poetry as a child. He cites Judith Wright among his early influences. Before becoming a full-time writer, teacher and editor he worked in a variety of places, including laboratories, a fertiliser factory and on farms.

Later poetry and writing

Kinsella has published over thirty books and his many awards include The Grace Leven Poetry Prize and the John Bray Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in journals such as Stand, The Times Literary Supplement, The Kenyon Review, and Antipodes. His poetry collections include: Poems 1980-1994, The Silo, The Undertow: New & Selected Poems, Visitants (1999), Wheatlands (with Dorothy Hewett, 2000) and The Hierarchy of Sheep (2001). His most recent book, Peripheral Light: New and Selected Poems, includes an introduction by Harold Bloom and his next poetry collection, The New Arcadia, was published in June 2005.

Kinsella is a vegan and has written about the ethics of vegetarianism. In 2001 he published a book of autobiographical writing, called Auto. He has also written plays, short stories and the novel Genre. Kinsella has taught at Cambridge University where he is a Fellow of Churchill College and was formerly Professor of English at Kenyon College, where he was the Richard L Thomas Professor of Creative Writing in 2001.

Work as an editor and critic

Kinsella is a founding editor of the literary journal Salt and international editor of The Kenyon Review. He co-edited a special issue on Australian poetry for the American journal Poetry and various other issues of international journals. He is a poetry critic for The Observer.

Controversy over memoir

In 2006, Kinsella published a memoir entitled Fast, Loose Beginnings: A Memoir of Intoxications. Poets Robert Adamson and Anthony Lawrence, displeased by the way they are depicted in the book, sent Kinsella a large number of threatening emails. Kinsella took out restraining orders against the two.[1]

  • Three poems
  • Parrotology: On the Necessity of Parrots in Poetry essay by John Kinsella at the Australian Book Review
  • 'America' reviewed by Abena Sutherland in poetry mag "Intercapillary Space"
  • Footnotes

    1. ^ Sydney Morning Herald story, 9 August, 2006

    NAME Kinsella, John
    SHORT DESCRIPTION Contemporary Australian poet
    DATE OF BIRTH 1963
    PLACE OF BIRTH Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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