John Kinsella’s distractions

I was on the 7th floor of the Harold Washington Library today, heading for the elevators with a Terry Pratchett paperback clutched in my hands, when I spotted a book in the library’s display of New Nonfiction. It was a book of poetry by John Kinsella entitled Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography. Dante, anyone? And yes, according to the book jacket, it is:


A three-part, epic work challenging our notions about nature, from Australia’s preeminent poet of the environment. John Kinsella’s ‘distractions’ on Dante’s Divine Comedy take the reader on highly visual journeys through Purgatorio: Up Close, Paradiso: Rupture, and Inferno: Leisure Centre…. Set in a small area of a large place, a patch of the wheatbelt in Western Australia, the reader accompanies the poet and his guide through a phantasmagoria of the real and imagined, of nature in its full regalia, resisting forces of damage and indifference that would see it destroyed.

Well, needless to say, I left with the book safely in my bag. Any 408-page tome that offers a “phantasmagoria of the real and imagined” must be explored.

I start with the Inferno, because that’s the book of the Divine Comedy that I’ve read. (Someday, I’ll get to the others, I promise.) And I admit that I am immediately charmed by the titles of the poems.

  • Clockwise Canto of the Mobius Strip: Mid-Life
  • Canto of Daylight Saving
  • Canto of Road Rage

I cannot wait to dive in! I will keep you posted.

One thought on “John Kinsella’s distractions

  1. I bogged down in Purgatory myself, but continue to collect illustrations for the Comedy from William Blake, John Flaxman, Sandro Botticelli, and Gustave Doré, and study snippets from Purgatory and Paradise through those.

    I would be keen to hear what you think of the Kinsella book, as I’m always on the lookout for new poetry.

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