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by John Kinsella

Introduced by Peter Porter

Part of our Arc International Poets series

God is everywhere, God is in Zion
not far from here, God is not letting
your children gang out with the children
of 'atheists' or 'doubters'; God is a fighter
in enclaves of the passive, God is the free
market, God is an extended warranty
on a sports utility vehicle that will
go anywhere; God is camouflage;
God is cheap electricity, cheap gas,
cheap clothing, cheap food, cheap
entertainment, God, if not renewable,
is making gestures in that direction,
God is expandible, miniaturised,
out on X-Box, digitalized and in stereo,
or hand-made as solid as a rock, God
is pro-life, pro-strength, pro-family,
pro-space and pro-martial arts.
God is everywhere.
America, p.53

John Kinsella's poem America is very much in the mould of Blake's visionary poem America, A Prophecy but unlike Blake, Kinsella does not express himself in allegorical terms but delivers a trenchant, uncompromising and direct denunciation of the world's unchallenged superpower. In what Peter Porter describes in his superb introduction as a 'finely annotated and sculpted tirade', Kinsella expresses his extreme disillusionment with the country in which he has been living on and off since the turn of the century, a disillusionment felt all the more keenly because he is Australian. This is an extraordinary work, a highly political and hard-hitting commentary on contemporary America presented not as documentary but in poetry, and all the more powerful for that.

Kinsella's America is a voice from the Rust Belt, but the rust is traced to the minds of Corporate America, not just its worn-out industries... [He] has an almost perfect ear for how a phrase will fall from the mouth into the waiting air-space.

Peter Porter evokes and provokes strong thoughts and feelings... it makes a vivid if not violent impression on you: anything anywhere else has, America has bigger if not better...

Eddie Wainwright, Envoi 145, October 2006's clear Kinsella knows and loves the place... sometimes, of a kind of controlled near-incoherence in which words become objects standing in for, rather than creating, meaning. ...meanings that are all too clear. The small, tightly compressed and condensed units of this poem reflect the density and complexity of material...

The Australian, 17th July 2006

72 pages
December 2005
ISBN 1-901614-28-0
Published December 2005

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