Book Review: The Vision of Error

writing WA
The Vision of Error: A Sextet of Activist Poems, by John Kinsella

The Vision of Error: A Sextet of Activist Poems
John Kinsella

5 Islands Press, $27.95

In this remarkable set of six long, complex and many-sectioned poems, Kinsella rails against human despoliation of the planet's resources, working from a local perspective. While "mining companies rule Australia", in Western Australia it's "all extrusion and removal". The seasons falter; in "November. Shiny green growth/. . . (but) little moisture around". Harsh hakea survives while massive York gums die and "the locals" spend their time "killing, poisoning, clearing, bush- bashing,/spraying". Recalling The Waste Land, Kinsella asks: "After the warnings and the facts, what will be left?" This is not "poetry for entertainment", he writes, but it demands to be read.