Jam Tree Gully: Poems - John Kinsella (WW Norton & Co)

2013 Poetry winner

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.

Read an excerpt from Jam Tree Gully (PDF - 122KB).

Author biography

John KinsellaJohn Kinsella is the author of more than 20 collections of poetry. He is the recipient of the Christopher Brennan Award, and lives in Western Australia.

Judges’ comments

John Kinsella’spoems are an observation of his surrounds in the Western Australian farming community – the animals, the weather, the people.  Kinsella shows his extraordinary skills, using a wide variation of verse forms to great effect in this outstanding collection.

This book of poems is an extraordinarily attentive chronicle of living in a West Australian place. Referencing Thoreau's wish, in Walden, to 'live deliberately', Kinsella's poems offer keen observations of animal life (wild, feral and domesticated), landscape, weather, and the social life of Australian country towns and the small properties that encircle them.

These are also poems of great technical virtuosity and variation, exploring traditional verse forms and freer, experimental modes of language. They capture the continual unexpectedness of the world, its violent weather, the proximate lives of animals, the depredations of settlement, the demands of the seasons. This is a poetic voice finely tuned to the shocks and delight of country life.