Q & A with John Kinsella

Posted by Rebecca Mortimer - Tuesday, 21 Mar 2017



What book in this field has inspired you the most?

Though I attempt to refute it in almost every way possible, I’d have to say Marc Augé’s Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity.

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Writing about ‘place’ will inevitably do this! But I am interested in shifting the discussion of place right through to questioning what ‘place’ actually is.


What did you enjoy the most about writing your book?

Writing on acts of collaboration. Seeing some of the texts live in activist moments — resisting bauxite mining in the South-west of Western Australia. Being in the (s)places I was writing out of.

What did you find hardest about writing your book?

It’s an extension of my ‘being in the world’, so it carried the difficulties (and enjoyments) of that.

How did you feel when you saw your first published book?

That was in 1983 and was a booklet of poetry (The Frozen Sea) that had a print-run of 50 copies and was published under the name John Heywood. I was disturbed and ecstatic at once. It was a beginning and a demapping of future possibilities.

Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

MUP did my earlier companion volume (Disclosed Poetics) in their Angelaki Humanities series. That volume was a good experience, and managed to find its way to paperback. So, it’s nice to be with the same team with Polysituatedness. A journeying.

Did you approach writing this book differently to any of your previous work?

Each book I write has its own patterns and peculiarities — this one is no different. Walking the backroads of West Cork, Ireland, or wandering through the Western Australian wheatbelt bush — the nexus between physical and conceptual place is always being investigated. Writing it, I was in many ‘places’ at once. That’s the point, I think.

Have you had time to think about your next research project yet? What are you working on now?

A book on ‘temporariness’ and ‘locality’ with Russell West-Pavlov. I am also completing work on a consideration of ‘transcultural’ poetry and poetics.


Polysituatedness is available now! Read a sample chapter here.



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