John Kinsella on creative collaboration

The complexity and rewards of co-writing poetry across oceans and cultures.

My maternal grandfather was an artist who was a sign-writer.
On commission, and under the eye of the public, he painted
the giant Queen Elizabeth for the 1954 ‘Royal Visit’
and the giant Captain Cook (with map of ‘New Holland’)
for the 200th ‘celebrations’. These lines, read on their own,
state facts. The rest of the facts are implied.
I expect implication from art. What these massive
portraits stuck up on buildings in the Terrace —
not a symbol, but the act of retaining it symbolic —
imply beyond drawing attention to ‘monumental’
occasions of imperialism, is painting as diversion.
Grandpa was highly skilled at his job. He migrated
from London at 12 in 1913 (‘just before the War’)
and kept London in his head all his life. Everybody
liked Bob. His brush only did part of the talking.

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