Meet the Writers Festival 2017 – Robert Wood on John Kinsella’s Graphology – New books by John Kinsella & Jorie Graham
June’s been a busy month poetry-wise. This week (Thursday, 22 June) I was a guest writer at the Meet the Writers Festival, an event that’s been run by the South Australian English Teachers’ Association (SAETA) for the last two and a half decades. Next year’s event will be SAETA’s twenty-fifth.
The festival is a great gift from our English teachers to the students of South Australia (2,000 of whom attend each year), giving them a chance to hear from and speak to writers from here and interstate. This year my fellow guests were: Andy Griffith, Isobelle Carmody, Phil Cummings, Rosanne Hawke, Stephanie McCarthy, Kristin Weidenbach, James Phelan, Tony Shillitoe, Ruth Starke, Allayne Webster, and Dan McGuiness.
I finished the day full of optimism and enthusiasm for the young people I spoke to. I was reminded of my own gratitude for those who taught me English in middle- and high-school, who went further than they knew in shaping my future. I was also reminded of the importance of developing young readers’ interest in and confidence around poetry, if we want to ensure an enduring readership.
In other news, my recent review of John Kinsella’s Graphology, for Plumwood Mountain, was discussed by poet and editor Robert Wood in his essay, The Boys in Cambridge: Clive James’ Injury Time and John Kinsella’s Graphology. It’s a worthwhile read for an alternate and well-considered view of Kinsella’s important three-volume work.
In terms of reading, I’ve enjoyed catching up with a few recent books of Australian poetry, including Shari Kocher’s The Non-Sequitur of Snow (Puncher & Wattmann, 2015), Jillian Pattinson’s Babel Fish (Puncher & Wattmann, 2014), and Dan Disney’s form-bending Either, Orpheus (UWA Publishing, 2016).
I’ve also enjoyed a preliminary read of the new collections of poems by John Kinsella and Jorie Graham, both of whom have been important touchstones for me. Kinsella’s On the Outskirts (University of Queensland Press, 2017) consolidates and extends the form and concerns of his earlier work, Divine Comedy: Journeys through a Regional Geography (University of Queensland Press, 2007), while Graham’s Fast (Ecco, 2017) breaks new ground for her oeuvre.
In the next month or two, I’ll post a link to a review that’s currently under construction.