Friday, December 23, 2022

In Memory of Wendy Jenkins

We are very sorry to have to note the passing of poet, editor and writer, Wendy Jenkins. Wendy was a friend with whom we both went way back — she edited our early Fremantle Press books, and was deeply loved and respected by many poets and writers. Wendy was also a remarkable poet of great poise and imagistic intensity. She spent much time perfecting the balance of her poems, and shaped lines down to the very morphemes and phonemes of words. She was an immensely generous and committed editor. There is so much to say about her, but for now, here is an elegy I have written for her:



            IM Wendy Jenkins



Rivers brought balance

between sea and The Hills —


filaments, fibres, arteries.

And wetlands were at your


feet so you dipped your toe

and said the machines


of destruction can go

no further. We remember.


For us, it’s burnt orange sunsets

and quail through the stubble.


And though it’s up & over

from your milieu, we know


where you stand, where

you walk past limestone,


water moving through,

the heat arraigned.



            John Kinsella



Monday, December 5, 2022

Free Climate Activist Immediately!

I write in support of the climate activist who has been jailed in New South Wales for blocking a lane of traffic on Sydney Harbour Bridge. Such sentencing is the sign of an authoritarian regime using all the tools of oppression it has to hand to enforce its will. 

The very fact that the legal system is being used to target those who 'incite' or cause 'economic disruption' says it all — this is purely and utterly a protection racket for industry, mining, exploiters of the environment, and the wealthy. To jail a non-violent activist because they 'disrupt' is another deeply disturbing sign that the unrestrained destruction of the planet is going to continue apace, no matter how many people oppose it and try to both articulate their opposition and bring the rapacity to a halt. 

This jailing is a crime of the state, and an abuse of basic humanitarian and civil rights. 

This individual has acted unselfishly on behalf of a deeply wounded biosphere. We must stand with them. They must be freed immediately.

Non-violence is non-violence, and this is someone at least trying to stand up against the 'economic' juggernaut, the consumerism and polluting behaviours that will leave the planet a barren wasteland if it is not halted. Many of us demand the immediate liberation of this climate activist, and further demand that such draconian 'sentencing' never be allowed to happen again. 

In solidarity with the activist!

Note: On a micro level, and as a complete aside, I remain opposed to the use of 'devices' such as flares and glue because of the environmental damage that arises from their manufacture, and further, they readily operate as symbols of the state in themselves; even the reverse irony of a 'flare' being a call for help under great duress fails because of the materials that go into making it. However, this concern regarding activist modes and approaches has nothing to do with the justice (and injustice) in this case. The wrong is entirely the state's and its proxies'.

    John Kinsella