John Kinsella's essays are concerned with culture, place, and poetic language. From the 'city' to the 'bush', and with 'prospect' and 'refuge' of landscape in mind, his focus is up close. Looking at region through an international lens, he examines subjects as diverse as the pastoral tradition, the flag, forest protests, the meanings of the letterbox, the Western Australian wheatbelt, racism and opera. Describing himself as an international regionalist, in contradistinction to a nationalist, he is always willing to challenge his audience.
This gathering of John Kinsella's writings about the intersections of location and writing is a rich contribution to the project of a new language for country . . . John Kinsella's mind starts with a convention and then proceeds to investigate it, testing a settled term like the pastoral, for instance, against his deep knowledge of the inner veins of Australian poetry, and his memory of wheatbins and Nyungar stookers. In an age when monolingualism and monoculturalism have become the watchwords of the powerful, it is a liberation to read these essays in passionate individualism. - Philip Mead