“Book review My small book of poems”
By Paul Oliveri & the Queensland writers centre
Copyright © Paul Oliveri 2007
At just 21 pages long Dave Delaney’s My short book of poems is one of contemporary societies rare examples of the name reflecting the product you get, but short in this case is far from a fleeting glance into the life of this 53 year old first time author.
The themes covered by this ex-furniture removalist come poet reflect the pre-multicultural Australiana ideology that infiltrated my schooling in the early seventies, but this man makes it real. Subjects such as outback tracks seen through the windshield of a removal truck come alive with what is obviously hundreds of hours of personal viewing experience, all described through the eyes of a truckie. In fact all of the diverse subject matter from the wet season in the far north to the barren Westwood Pub and the love of a good dog reflect one bloke’s life experience.
Predictably, for a man who has been surrounded by war veterans from World War II to Vietnam there are a couple of poems on the Australian digger. The majority of the accolades and publicity for this tantalisingly short book have come from the poem Diggers, a moving tribute that is skilfully written to include the experiences of veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Only recently has the author overcome his trepidation of the spotlight and performed this 36 line homage at a number of ceremonies.
With a brief subject matter description such as the above some will have already pigeon holed this akubra owning, Jackie Howe singlet wearing, largely uneducated, self published author into the blokey bloke category. This would be a mistake. Toward the end of the book poems such as I’m sorry my girls, My time and The old man show a man who is tender, loving and regretful. Regretful that although he loves his children he hasn’t broken free from the stereotypical mould of the Aussie bloke and demonstrated this both verbally and physically. Regretful that he has spent so much time on the road and missed so many milestones during their young lives.
While I consider the writing skilful and of an extremely good standard without knowing this author I would never have picked the book up off the shelf. Dave has made a common self-published author mistake of having what I consider to be an un-enticing cover, but while I would never have picked this book off the shelf you should.