‘For me, a poem is an activist thing, and every poem is an act of responsibility,' says this year's winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for poetry, Professor John Kinsella from The University of Western Australia.
The English and Cultural Studies Professorial Research Fellow at UWA accepted the award from Premier Ted Baillieu last night for his volume Armour.
Professor Kinsella said that winning a Victorian Premier's prize mattered because "Melbourne was one of the epicentres of poetry in the world."
His new collection in Armour is described as ‘his most spiritual work to date - and his most politically engaged'.
The Judges said Armour, John Kinsella's 32nd collection of poetry was ‘a mix of charged, spiritual urgency and quiet reflection. It is also as diverse in its writing styles with each poem full of penetrating words and compressed imagery. Kinsella has always been political, ecological and linguistically lyrical and this collection is no exception.'
His ethical and political motivations shine through in ‘Idyllatry': 3. An Idea of Disorder':
I've spent half my life living
in the middle of this and don't believe
any of it. I don't believe in growth,
and I don't believe anyone's being fed.
The grain flows out into the world's
granaries and there's a food shortage
I've whinged over and over about how
we're poisoning country, sucking the land
dry for short-term gain. But what of it?
This is my swan-song. I've nothing
more to add to the litany, the testament.
The $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature was inaugurated by Premier Baillieu last year when it was won by UWA graduate Kim Scott for That Deadman Dance.