Australian John Kinsella is one of the most highly regarded poets currently writing in English. Taking Edmund Burke’s 250-year old masterpiece A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful as his template, Kinsella has produced his most accomplished and broadly representative work to date. Shades of the Sublime & Beautiful is a warm, human, anecdotally rich book, concentrating many of the themes that have obsessed its author over the last twenty years: language, love, the invocation of place, the mysteries of the Australian wilderness, and our mediations between the human and natural realms. Together, these lyric meditations build towards a profound thesis on the ecology of the imagination, and are always conducted in concrete, vivid and exuberant language that is unmistakably Kinsella’s own.
‘Kinsella’s poems are a very rare feat: they are narratives of feeling. Vivid sight – of landscapes, of animals, of human forms in distant light – becomes insight. There is, often, the shock of the new. But somehow awaited, even familiar. Which is the homecoming of a true poet’ George Steiner
‘John Kinsella is an Orphic fountain, a prodigy of the imagination . . . he frequently makes me think of John Ashbery: improbable fecundity, eclecticism, and a stand that fuses populism and elitism in poetic audience’ Harold Bloom