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Fast, Loose Beginnings is a racy anecdotal memoir of John Kinsella's meetings with the great and colourful men and women of poetry.

Since his late teens, Kinsella has been rubbing shoulders and working with a host of acclaimed poets. The book opens with Kinsella on a bender in search of Dorothy Hewett, and goes on to tell the story of his friendships and massive fallings-out through the highs and lows of addiction.

In this contentious account, Kinsella weaves his impressions of these figures personally, with a lively and incisive commentary on their place within the broader literary culture. Here, in good company, are intimate portraits of Dorothy Hewett, Les Murray, American literary critic Harold Bloom and French philosopher Jacques Derrida, as they have never been seen before. As a highly respected poet and critic, Kinsella brings clarity and biting irreverence to the writer’s life, making this encounter with literature vividly alive.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 1, 2006

    Melbourne University Press

    RRP $29.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by John Kinsella

On the Outskirts
The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry
The Ballad of Moondyne Joe
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry
Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography
Shades of the Sublime and Beautiful
Michael Dransfield: a Retrospective


The Invention of Angela Carter
Bernard Shaw
Take Courage
The Story of Alice
Charles Bukowski
The Uncommon Reader
The Hero Maker: A Biography of Paul Brickhill
First Light
Romantic Outlaws
Reading the World
Young Eliot
Penelope Fitzgerald
Wilfred Owen
Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation
The Poets' Daughters
Hemingway's Boat
Georgette Heyer Biography
Algerian White
Grand Central Winter