A Penguin anthology of Australian poetry edited by internationally acclaimed poet and writer and York resident, John Kinsella, was released in January.

The anthology with introductory essays and biographical notes written by John is the most recent of his books and adds to a long list already published. These include Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography, launched in September last year.

The anthology brings together poetry from early indigenous and colonial verse to that from the present time. It includes formal poems along with experimental as well as literary, social and political discussion and arguments that have shaped life in Australia.

One review says “Kinsella has put together a bold and surprising selection that is true to his irreverent spirit. “The anthology comprises well known classics and poems of both promise and achievement – it is a rich, diverse and exciting collection.”

Poets include Michael Dransfield, Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Lionel Fogarty, Dorothy Hewett, Les Murray, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Yu Ouyang, Kenneth Slessor, Judith Wright and Fay Zwicky.

Set in the wheatbelt of WA, Divine Comedy takes the reader on a tour through the wonders of nature, resisting forces that would damage it and indifference that would destroy it.

It is, “an attempt at exorcism, reclamation, rebuilding, celebrating ... and surviving what he (Kinsella) sees to be a massive and unjust assault on the natural world by apathetic humans,” one review says.

“In a world that is being killed by small and large acts, Divine Comedy is a book of hope and redemption that faces up to the terror and trauma in all of us, terror and trauma that we play out on the world, often unwittingly. “It is sure to attract wide interest to Kinsella’s writing,” the review concludes.

Commenting on the two books, John said, “I’m proud of the Penguin anthology and see Divine Comedy as being my main work of poetry out of the 40 volumes I have published. “I received two Australia Council grants over recent years to work on it,” he said.

The Penguin Anthology is $35.00 and Divine Comedy, published by Queensland University Press, is $26.95

Lindsay McNeill

WEB PHOTO: John Kinsella receiving an award for his work last year