John Kinsella's 'Star Shavings'

Photo by John Kinsella from the 'Star Shavings' series.

I’m pleased here to present a brief excerpt from John Kinsella’s series titled “Star Shavings,” a cycle of photo-poems. Jacket2 and PennSound are making the cycle available HERE. Here is a link to Kinsellas PennSound page, and here are some links to several of his previous appearances in Jacket: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.


You build a fresh star out of the living parts of old stars
without damaging those stars — the hope, the plan.

You frame a blue star in red to circumvent ageing the star.
You rewrite stellar cartography because you are wary

of cartographers & maps. You refuse to lock
a star into place. A cosmologist with no interest

in the origins of the universe nor its timeframe.
You climb colder mountains & sink into colder troughs.

Conserving stellar atmospheres
you write elegies for coronas.

So, collecting shavings of stars
I became intoxicated

by the vapour
of their provenance.

I think this was a stimulus
to my addictive behaviours.

I tried searching
past sunlight

for other suns
& burnt my retinas —

there’s a mark
on the left one

that will edge me
towards sight-loss.

Reactive to glare,
gleam & glistening,

I take a polarised argument
& look for dissension.

Peering up through
the canopy of forest,

I wish upon cataclysmic