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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Tom Bristow
Pages 132-170
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.5.1.132

Climatic Literary Geoinformatics: Radical Empiricism, Region, and Seasonal Phenomena in John Kinsella’s Jam Tree Gully Poems

John Kinsella’s twentieth volume of poetry is laden with a poetics of attention to time, water and heat. Climate inheres in simplified topographical sketches, surveys and encounters with animals; water is ambiguous: a solid presence that is also fluid, subject to evaporation and often modelled as multi-dimensional motion; universalised western seasons are used rhetorically and symbolically to bring into relief little seasons within seasons, the more spatially and temporally localised markers of change. All these speak directly to the function of the image and terrestrial matter (“Matter is dreamed and not perceived”: Bachelard), and how poetry is alert to such conditions. Kinsella has conceived of this as a “clash between linguistic anomaly and environmental exactness.”

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