Poems Far and Wide

$25.00 inc GST

Product Description

This very lively collection contains a wide sweep of poems, many of them prize-winning, taking readers on a remarkable journey. Some look to the past, others to the future, but all are of their time: the reverberating now. The tone is contemporary and bold, while the poet’s sensibility tends to favour an eclectic inclusiveness. Uniformly, this wide-ranging and poetically inclusive collection demands to be enjoyed.

“As striking and triumphant in current poetry as a Gauguin in a gallery of Flemish still life.’ — Robert Harris, generally on Jenkins’ work, in Overland.

“There’s a whole-heartedness about how he embraces the world he sees: aware of its faults, but never stinting…” — Sharon Olinka (USA) Thylazine website.

“The wit, language play and urbane imagery we are used to from Jenkins, as well as emotional depth and an infectious delight in language…” — Mike Ladd, reviewing Dark River in Australian Book Review.

“Innovative, intellectually sprightly, and artistically refreshing.” — Heather Cam, reviewing A Break in the Weather in Sydney Morning Herald.



“The book’s title says it all in a way. Few recent books have shown such a variety of styles and poetic modes The styles range from sharp, Duggan-like, found poems – “Overheard on bus // It was like . . . / grasping at fogwebs” – to extended meditations, parodies and (in “The Annual Eros Motor Joyride”) exhaustive explorations of a single comic idea. The modes range from lyric to narrative and all the varieties within them. It takes a little while and a few rereadings to work out that this is not a grab-bag of recent work (“compendium” might be a politer word) but a coherent book, attempting, with some deliberateness, to push the boundaries of the possible in poetry, to reject conventional consistency which is, as one of the poems says, “a bloodless abstract, a lesser good”.”

MARTIN DUWELL, Australian Poetry Review


“This collection of poems by John Jenkins is broad, and deep and filled with feeling and wit. Expansive in vision of the human predicament, and various in form. There is evidence of travel and international lived experience; insight into global figures.”

DEVIKA BRENDON, Rochford Street Review


Poems Far and Wide contains a wide variety of material, with many literally globe-trotting poems set in Cuba, Ireland, Athens, China, France, Russia and Vietnam. Closer to home, where John lives in Kangaroo Ground, a place he calls “Hillbilly Heaven”, there are poems about chopping wood in winter, wedgetail eagles, the dangers of freeway driving, the rapid development and destruction of local landscapes and even the single leaf of a foxglove plant.
One particular poem that caught my eye was At the Writer’s Day where, amongst verses of literary voices all wanting to write “important books, to change the world” the poet takes a moment to think, and then says to those around him that he instead
“would like to write a small poem about foxgloves”.
Larger themes and ideas also appear: such as the celebration of poet and physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose equations arguably underpin our fast emerging Digital Age.

JO FRENCH, Warrandyte Diary p.26


The Idea Of A Chosen Plenitude – ‘Poems Far And Wide’ by John Jenkins, reviewed by Devika Brendon

Martin Duwell reviews ‘Poems Far and Wide’ in Australian Poetry Review

Jo French reviews ‘Poems Far and Wide’ in the Warrandyte Diary, p.26