Harsh Hakea, Collected Poems Volume Two (2005-2014)

Harsh Hakea, Collected Poems Volume Two (2005-2014)

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John Kinsella

Harsh Hakea is the second volume of John Kinsella's collected poems and dates from 2005 to 2014, capturing a life's work in medias res. It includes poems from widely read volumes like Jam Tree Gully, which won the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, and ones from lesser-known volumes like Love Sonnets, which was published by the British small press, Equipage.

For the first time, John Kinsella’s poetry is collected in one place, including poems that have appeared in chapbooks, publications outside of Australia, and those which are no longer in print. In this volume, Kinsella’s poetry exemplifies a heightened awareness of the specificity of place, but also of the perspective of being within it or removed from it, as a guest living on stolen Aboriginal land. Kinsella’s poems often begin with the personal and broaden out in their reach, and frequently investigate the contemporary world using and critiquing older literary templates. Questions around the nature of translations, versions and interpretations resonate across the work. Reading this second volume of the Collected compels the reader to consider questions that have no convenient answer, that remain pressing still today; questions about the nature of art, masculinity, environmentalism, human and animal rights, violence, mortality and protest. This is a volume that is deeply moving at times, unsettling at others, sometimes both – another landmark addition to Australian literature.


Praise for Harsh Hakea

One of Australia’s most vivid, energetic and stormy poets, a writer who turns to the natural world with a fierce light.

– Edward Hirsch, Washington Post

Kinsella’s work conveys the damage done through capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and their pervasive discourse. Yet it also illuminates how to see forms of connective beauty and resistant power between the human and more-than-human.

– Ann Vickery, Angelaki


The poem, then, as pantechnicon. The poet as polymath. To help rescue, to help halt the damage  to help undo the crime – one must know, one must inform oneself to inform others. 

– David Brooks, The Conversation, on volume one of the collected poems, The Ascension of Sheep

Works of immense range, from extended lyrical meditations to taut experimental sonic poems and everything in between.

– WritingWA, on volume one of the collected poems, The Ascension of Sheep


The invitation of this sweeping collection provides the opportunity to consider the development of Kinsella’s writing from its raw earliest examples to the skilled technique evident in his current writing. 

– John Hawke, Australian Book Review, on volume two of the collected poems, Harsh Hakea


One of the greatest senses one gets reading across the breadth of Kinsella is not plenitude but particularity, a granularity revealed through the turning over of the same materials and revealing how subtle shifts in the way they lie against one another alters the sense of the whole. 

– Caitlin Maling, Westerly, on volume two of the collected poems, Harsh Hakea


Book details

Publication Date: February 2023

Price: $55.00

ISBN: 978-1-76080-234-9

Format: 234 x 156 mm

Extent: 830 pages

Rights: Australia and New Zealand