Interview: Australian Poet David J Delaney

David J Delaney

David J Delaney interviewed by Gopal Lahiri

Finding the Poet Within.

So you think you’re a poet spending all your time
just tinkering with free verse or some classic rhyme,
or maybe you like haiku, tanka, abc,
some sonnets, or Australian bush poetry.

Perhaps it’s in a couplet, stories you can tell
or could you like the challenge of a villanelle.
An epic might excite, but not an epigram,
might write a limerick while riding in a tram.

Iambic pentameter might just turn you on,
or can one narrative be like a marathon.
Then when you write a lyric, does it tug your heart,
and when you pen a lay, are they a piece of art?

Some idyll poetry depicts a country dream
though, does romanticism want to make you scream.
With over fifty five great forms of poetry,
to name each one, is quite a challenge now for me.

Because there’s such a choice, why study only one,
and learn the disciplines of how they all are done.
Appreciate the work in every single style,
attempt to write them all, becoming versatile.

And don’t stray from this path, one day you’ll make a choice
then, find your worldly niche - your own poetic voice.
Some scholars try to push one form of poetry,
they won’t open their minds and let their thoughts be free.

So make sure you can read all of the books you can,
on poets and their styles or where it all began.
And keep on learning and accept the discipline,
for one day you will find, the poet deep within.

David J Delaney was born and grew up in Australia. He has arrived in the literary world much later in his life. He confesses. ‘I only starting writing in late December, 2007’ and yet by now he has already published four books, won several awards and published in many anthologies worldwide. ‘As a poet, and recently a memoire/short story writer, ‘he admits ‘ I have had wonderful support, in Cairns, Queensland, Australia and worldwide. My love for writing and the impact it has on everyday people, has, definitely been an inspiration to me’. There is poignancy too in his poems. He is one of the voices urging the authorities to show empathy on the aborigines rather than hiding away, all while he suppresses his own grief. A man of many parts, he is now living a nomadic life and travelling in caravan. In this free-wheeling interview, he talks with me about his life, his poems and everyday people, social media impact and the future of poetry.

Gopal Lahiri: Very briefly tell our readers about yourself? Your life as a poet?
David J Delaney: I am in my mid sixties, married with 2 daughters & 6 grandchildren, my wife & I shunned suburbia in 2013 loving the nomadic life living & travelling in our caravan.
My life as a poet started in 2007 & has been an amazing ride, before that I never would have thought I would be a international award winning, published poet & short story writer.

What started you writing ? Does it come naturally to you?
 I once managed a vehicle radiator warehouse & it was very quiet this day, I thought of a trip I did when I used to drive trucks long distances & decided to put it down on paper which ended up in rhyming poetry form.
yes it did & even more so now I have learnt many of the “formulas” that go with the many different styles of poetry.

Are there any themes which particularly attract you as a poet?
I love witting about military, real life & historical themes.

Poetry is essentially a self-taught art form. Do you think if there was formal training it would help or harm?
From what I have noticed it depends on who is teaching, I know of some academics that will not teach a certain form of poetry because they don’t like it & only teach a form they like thus not giving the student a choice.

Who are your favorite authors? Tell us about the writers who have influenced you.
This is a hard question as there are so many, the old greats, Petrarch's and Shakespeare's sonnets, Basho’s Haiku & Tanka. Lawson, Paterson, Boake etc. Australian bush poetry. So many wonderful past & modern  poets from all over the world.                                               
You once wrote, ‘The release of my 1st book “My small book of poems” in May 2007 has been one incredible step for me.’ The size of my book was purposely done to gauge the reaction of the public.’ Can you elaborate?
I was not sure how my early poetry would be accepted by the reading public so instead of spending a lot of money on a large book I decided on a small book to gauge the reaction, fortunately the reaction was fantastic.

You are an accomplished poet in Australia and clarity is the hallmark of your write. How do you approach poetry?
Well it depends, if the poem is historical I have to do more study & research than, say, a childhood memory. I often “mull” the information around in my head for days, sometimes weeks thinking of lines, stanzas, styles & formula before I start to put pen to paper, sometimes the style does not come to me until I start writing.

You are a member of Tropical writers group, Cairns and Australian Bush Poets Association. Share your experiences with us.
Since my wife & I started travelling I am no longer a member of these groups but I still visit their sites, when there I received wonderful support from Tropical Writers Inc. the critique & suggestions were invaluable while I was attending, the same with Australian Bush Poets.
                               Fifty Aborigines
Fifty Aborigines were taken from our shore
sent over to South Africa, to fight in England’s war.
Fifty Aborigines tracked Boers on foreign land,
nevermore to walk their bush, or camp on golden sand.

Lord Kitchener gave orders, to find some trackers fast,
then sent the very best, the ones they knew could last
for days out in the desert or on the open plains,
surviving searing heat or through the winter rains.

So fifty Aborigines are fighting side by side;
they’re with Australian soldiers and showing trackers’ pride,
and how they showed their worth, when tracking down the Boers
surprising British officers who’d fought in many wars.

The treaty of Vereeniging, May 1902
stopped the bloody war between the Boers and British too.
Our soldiers all rejoiced, for they would head on home,
and spend their lives beneath Australia’s starry dome.

But fifty Aborigines would not be coming back,
they never would return because their skin was black.
The “White Australia Policy” would stop them coming home,
far from their families, where they would hunt and roam.

For fifty Aborigines the tears will always flow
by children of the fathers, they’ll never get to know,
and all the family members, will walk with heavy heart
with knowledge that their menfolk, and they will be apart. 

So here’s another piece of our Australian history
of leaders hiding truth behind bureaucracy,
and those from way back then really need to take the blame
for all that I can say is.....shame Australia, shame.

  1. You know a few Indian poets and you are familiar also with their works. How do you relate with India and Indian English Poets?
           Like yourself, Gopakumar Radhakrishnan, Sarojini Naidu, Rabindrananth Tagore, Mahadevi Varma & many more, the poems of your landscapes, cities, villages & every day people resonate so well with my thoughts.
  1.  Do you think social media can have impact into your writing life, and if so, how?
Yes I do, social media today can have one’s writings read anywhere in the world & instantaneously, a writer could receive critique from any number of groups & can study different forms at any time.
  1.  What does poetry mean to you? Where do you see it going in the future?
To me poetry is a voice, a way to showcase injustices, love, events & humour from the past & today
I believe poetry is slowly gaining in popularity again & will remain so into the future. 
  1. What is your thought on young poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
Study different forms, styles & poets, take on board constructive critique, don’t be discouraged buy harsh criticism, enter competitions, believe in what you write & why you write. 
  1. What are you reading right now?
“Chasing a Butterfly” by Canadian poet, H. W. Bryce. 
  1. Any last words?
I would love to see poets write naturally & from the heart, not write to impress some academic or lecturer with words & phrases the local people would never understand.
My latest book “Another Chapter” is available from

Sonnet no. 5

New morning sun brings forth her warming rays
while dying leaves drift gently to the ground.
Approaching winter soon will dampen days,
when ice will hang from barren trees abound.  
Korea’s changing beauty I have seen,
penned every scene for all the world to read.
I miss so much your sparkling eyes of green,
while for your love, my heart again will bleed.
The freezing snow will cover all that lives
I hope I will survive this daily fight.
A priest once said that Jesus Christ forgives,
though what I do, he could not see as right.
My helmet sits upon my weary head ─
My rifle, now replaces pencil lead.
David J Delaney

(For my Uncle, Lawrence George Delaney, 1st Battalion RAR, who served in Korea.)

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for this post. It is very informative. And thanks for the mention David J.Delaney. And I am enjoying your book Another Chapter, just now too. Congratulations for your placement and a wonderful interview.


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