Wednesday, May 29, 2024

In Memory of Poet Lyn Hejinian



            in memory of Lyn Hejinian


Granular as people

            to people, arraying

with modicums

            and substantials,

setting implication

            of dead places

brought alive

            where a quote

becomes the ‘my’

            of an anecdote;

brief as interruption

            of decades, broadcast

resumed and reception

            a tool of wonder

as northern lights

            freak southern lights

and vice versa.


of the time,

            all in thrall

but liberated;

            the clouds

were somewhere


but reform over lines

            too long

to condense.



            John Kinsella

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Total Divestment from Military-related Industry

It is deeply affirming to see the peaceful campaigning against military connections and associations in Australian universities. Demilitarisation of places of learning is something I have been strongly advocating for over many years, and it surprises me that it has taken this long to become a focal point of rights issues. University involvement in militarism has frequently been the case, and it remains the case, even where universities deny such connections. My email signature at one university I am associated with reads:

for the complete demilitarisation of universities, schools, and places of learning

Having experienced ostracism and complaints (to put it mildly) within [that] university because of my stance, I wonder how the entrenched militarists feel about broader protest action? And I make this post as a plea for consistency among the protesters — ALL military associations lead to death somewhere in the world, and ALL military associations are culpable. Divestment (as the terms goes... placing it within its capitalist ambit and reflecting part of the core issue) from ALL weapons-related 'defence industry' and interests is the only just approach. 

To be selective is to condone death and suffering for 'other' people, to justify violence under 'certain circumstances' — the reason the cycles of violence persist in the world and dominate human interactions, ensuring the perpetuation of injustice. Divest should mean cease. Divest should mean there can be no learning with the spectre of death underwriting one's studies. Whether it's working on submarine sonar or receiving funding from any of the military-profiteering companies, it comes down to the same issue: these are modes predicated on death.

See this poem from 2020 written to a VC and university hierarchy about 'defence' industry ties to universities.

    John Kinsella

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Letter to the Vice-Chancellors and Board Members of Australian Universities



To Vice-Chancellors and Board Members of Australian Universities


I wish to:


1. Support the absolute right for students to protest/camp etc. peacefully on university campuses.

2. Denounce the genocide being enacted by the Israeli military in Gaza. Further, to note the ongoing systemic oppression and neo-colonialism enacted by Israel’s government, military and settler-culture.

3. I wish to affirm universal human rights.

4. Speaking from a pacifist position that rejects all forms of violence, I wish to restate my many decades-long objection to weapons production (for anyone anywhere), the military in all its forms, and places of learning being used directly or indirectly for these purposes. It is abhorrent that universities have so deeply connected themselves with ‘defence’ — an industry of death.

5. Speak against any form of support for such violence.

6. Speak in support of diverse communities across the globe that respect each other, share space and materials, and are mutually supporting.






Emeritus Professor John Kinsella, poet, environmentalist, peace activist and writer

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Cease the Attacks on Rafah/Gaza




One of my students showed me the orchards

of her family deleted, the land rewritten.

And photos of the displaced and lost.

That was a year before the invasion


of Gaza and the erasure of trees

down to the splinters of stories.

The granaries broken, houses

split open, and now the last refuge


to be raised and offered as proof

of ‘resolve’. Buzzards, sparrow-

hawks, griffons... no longer raptors

but lost to the vanishing point.


Erosion is policy and endgame

its intonation. The Israeli military

is attempting to rewrite definitions

of suffering. To bulldoze lexicons.


Closing the crossing, harrying

the edges, compressing and dispersing

the soil until it is dust or slurry.

Cultivating a ruin whose fruit is death.




            John Kinsella




Thursday, May 2, 2024




Each martial act shatters the desert owl’s

hold on the grace of night which has seeped

into day through rips in walls of sky,

through holes in the carpet of earth —

fractures of rock and pits of sand.


Each martial act undoes the baby’s

cry for milk, the silently feeding lips

which would continue into sleep;

and when shells lob as precise

as history it wakes before it dies.


Each martial act is enabled by the silence

of ‘learning’, the immanence of ‘making

a living’, an expression that falls as dead

prayers over distance, over the local.

The desert owl remembers differently.

The desert owl remembers the same.



            John Kinsella