Poetry (books)


                                                                   Updated August 2023:

New! Good news! a double act

A DOUBLE ACTpoems co-written by John Jenkins and Ken Bolton

The Selected Poems by John Jenkins and Ken Bolton, titled A Double Act and published by Puncher and Wattmann, is now available from: https://puncherandwattmann.com/product/a-double-act-the-selected-collaborative-poems/ Or order a copy from your favourite bookshop.

Over the years, Ken and I have co-written numerous poems, with many published in the following books and booklets: Airborne Dogs and Other Collaborations (Brunswick Hills, 1988); The Ferrara Poems, a verse novel (Experimental Art Foundation, 1989); The Gutman Variations (Little Esther, 1993); Gwendolyn Windswept, a verse novel (serialized Otis Rush Magazine, 1994); The Wallah Group (Little Esther, 2001); Nutters Without Fetters, (Press Press, 2002); Poems of Relative Unlikelihood (Little Esther 2005); Lucky for Some (Little Esther, 2012). And The Ferrara Poems was also made into a short film. Now, a complete Selected is available here, in A Double Act. This book was recently reviewed by Caroline Overington, Literary Editor, in Notable Books, p. 14 of the July 22-23, 2023 Weekend Australian.


sky inside cover

New! My 2022 poetry collection, The Sky Inside Us, has just been published by Ginninderra. Its 108 pages contains new and previously unpublished poems – many written (almost) yesterday. That said, a sparkling sprinkle date back to the 1960s and 1970s.

See: https://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/store.php?product/page/2401/John+Jenkins+%2F+The+Sky+Inside+Us

Here is an extract from the back page blurb: "In his eleventh poetry collection, John Jenkins displays a boldness and creative variety, across a wide sweep of subject matter, which should hold great appeal to readers... (as he) takes us on a rich and engaging journey, into the heart of modern Australian poetry."

(This volume also contains a wining poem from my local Shire of Nillumbik 2021 'Age-on-the-Page' Poetry Challenge, 'Independence Category'. See: https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Community/Older-people/Projects/Age-on-the-Page-poetry-challenge.)

Early days, but I will post links to reviews of The Sky Inside Us as they appear.


Weste Cover V16 676x1024I am one of 35 verse novelists from Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand interviewed by Linda Weste in her comprehensive, wide-ranging and inclusive book The Verse Novel Australian & New Zealand, from Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2022.

See: https://scholarly.info/book/the-verse-novel-australia-new-zealand/

 Here, Linda Weste.... "explores the uniqueness of storytelling through poetry and the genre of the verse novel".

And Weste also asks some pertinent questions about my own A Break in the Weather, pub. Modern Writing Press 2003, and its back-then ground-breaking subject matter of environmental catastrophe and climate change. (Scroll down below for more details on this earlier book of mine, plus a pdf download.) 

P O E M S  F A R  A N D  W I D E Now published!

cockieAustralian literary publisher Puncher & Wattmann has published my 2019 collection of poems, Poems Far and Wide.

See: https://puncherandwattmann.com/product/poems-far-and-wide/

 Cocky pic, JJ. 

Far and Wide cover

Poems Far and Wide is now available through all good bookshops.

It is distributed nationally by New South Books


The most recent review of this collection is by Devika Brendon on Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2020/11/24/the-idea-of-a-chosen-plenitude-poems-far-and-wide-by-john-jenkins-reviewed-by-devika-brendon/

The terrific launch speech by Alex Skovron was also on Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2019/10/01/delightfully-eclectic-alex-skovron-launches-poems-far-and-wide-by-john-jenkins/

And there is a review by Martin Duwell on his Australian Poetry Review website: http://www.australianpoetryreview.com.au/2019/10/john-jenkins-poems-far-wide/

Plus review by Jo French on page 26 of local paper, The Warrandyte Diaryhttps://warrandytediary.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/FEBRUARY-2020-WEB-final.pdf

And here's a link to Readings Bookshops, Melbourne: https://www.readings.com.au/products/27273259/poems-far-and-wide

And another to Dymocks, Melbourne: https://www.dymocks.com.au/book/poems-far-and-wide-by-john-jenkins-9781925780123

Without being too cocky I believe this is a substantial collection, which includes many poems that have been previously published, anthologised, or have won - or shortlisted in - local and international competitions.

"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 engaging collection demands to be enjoyed."

I hope readers enjoy Poems Far and Wide.... just as much as I enjoyed putting it together. 

Some poems date back a little, while others are very recent indeed! The tone is contemporary and bold. There are are some longer dramatic and narrative poems, and others more lyrical in essence.

There are poems very close to home, some are observations of the natural world, while others take readers to far-flung destinations around the globe. Some are dramatic, or the poetic equivalent of 'character studies', with reverberating psychological resonance. There are poems of fast-paced wit and humor, and others deadly serious. There are trance-like or dream-like poems too, and experiments in language  often contrasting with hard-nosed factual observation. I hope the wide-ranging ambition of this collection will be enjoyed.

** Poems Far and Wide includes two first-prize winners, of both an international literary award and leading Australian poetry competition; plus eleven poems that have placed or been highly commended, commended or shortlisted in major awards. There is a referncce to one of its prize winners here (scroll down page slightly): https://stillcraic.blogspot.com/2015/03/


Published in 2021:

JJ nonsense bk blue front cover


 A Half-Baked Fruitcake Of Nuts and Nonsense

          Silly stuff for kids of all ages

During a Covid lockdown in my corner of the world, I was amazed to discover that I could draw. I had never tried before. Never! But I just started, and kept going. That said, I did know how to write silly rhymes! So I put the two together, my nonsense rhymes and new silly scribbles, then published this little book.

Here listed are the online bookstores now selling it: https://booko.com.au/9781922465658/A-Half-Baked-Fruitcake-of-Nuts-and-Nonsense-Silly-stuff-for-kids-of-all-ages


 Previous collections:

MrMenziesCover web.jpg

Over the past decades I have written nine previous books of poetry, including Growing up With Mr Menzies, published in 2008 by John Leonard Press. Download sections here:  https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20190305182307/https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/jenkins-john

Also, Ethos Books, Singapore, incuded the poem I Can Read Now, from Growing up With Mr Menzies, in their 2013 anthology of poetry, Little Things, see: https://www.ethosbooks.com.sg/products/little-things-an-anthology-of-poetry?_pos=1&_sid=e74ab2819&_ss=r

In December 2008, Morag Fraser, in Australian Book Review, named Growing up With Mr Menzies as one of her top three Australian books of the year.

This book is now out of print and unavailable, but you can download a free copy here:

See: Menzies (PDF) download


Break cover 1As posted above, I am one of 35 verse novelists from Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand interviewed by Linda Weste in her comprehensive, wide-ranging and inclusive book The Verse Novel Australian & New Zealand, from Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2022. In this study, Weste also asks some pertinent questions about my A Break in the Weather, pub. Modern Writing Press 2003, and its back-then ground-breaking subject matter of environmental catastrophe and climate change. This book was dumbly attacked by climate change denying trolls and reviewers when it first appeared. Nowadays, how things have changed! 


NB. You can downbload a pdf file of A Break in the Weather here: http://johnjenkins.com.au/images/PDFs/A-Break-in-the-Weather.pdf

In addition, I have co-written eight titles with the Adelaide-based poet Ken Bolton, and our Selected collaborations is anticipated to appear from Puncher & Wattmann in July 2022. I will update this post when the book becomes available.

I have also co-edited (along with various co-editors) three anthologies of poetry: in years 1974, 1975 and 2007, and been frequently anthologised.


Dark River cover

My 2003 collection, Dark River, published by Five Islands Press, was included on a special episode of ABC Radio National's excellent Poetica program, and you can download the audio of this complete episode here:


To Download a free pdf of this book: https://www.johnjenkins.com.au/images/PDFs/Dark-River.pdf





 Dark River is listed in the Five Islands catalogue (scroll to year 2003): 


Blind spot cover web

Another early book, Blind Spot (1977), is freely downloadable here: https://www.johnjenkins.com.au/images/PDFs/Blind-Spot.pdf


 wild white sea cover webAnd so too is The Wild White Sea (1990), here: http://johnjenkins.com.au/images/PDFs/Wild-white-sea.pdf





inland sea over webAnd talking of seas, so too is The Inland Sea (1984): 






final whitewolf coverFinally, my very early book, Zone of the White Wolf and Other Landscapes (1974)... Well, I have re-designed the cover (see opposite), and also taken out all the illustrations, which I never liked, and also re-written one short prose poem, titled Ending (tones).

'Zone' is now available here as a download: see 'Zone' (PDF)







© John Jenkins 2022.   New Projects | About/Contact