Cairns Magazine Feature

Wordsworth’s poetry may have been inspired    by sauntering through theLake District and pondering clusters of daffodils but David Delaney’s was inspired by a much faster mode of transport.

The ex-long distance truck driver from Brisbane was inspired by outback trips out west, passing through wild and reddened land, and meeting characters along the way.

“I first wrote a short story, The Outback Track, and wrote a couple of poems, which I sent to my sister-in-law,” David says.

“She liked them and said I should write more, so I did and put a little book out.”

That book, My Small Book of Poems, published in 2007 was a big step for David, now living in Cairns for “16 years and five cyclones”, and despite his misgivings as to the book’s value, he was overwhelmed by the response internationally.
And so began a new life of writing for David, a life until then he knew nothing about.

David left high school at 15 (after three months) but says he wanted to show that despite his lack of higher schooling that he could write and enjoy it.

Inspired by the likes of bush poets “Banjo” Paterson and Henry Lawson, he continued to write, publishing Rhymes of Times, his second book in 2008, about the land and the life that moves him. In fact, David often finds it hard to read his poetry because it means so much to him he is likely to become choked up.

“Inspiration comes from anywhere, from a smell, or sounds, or from just talking to people,” David says. “One of my most popular poems is Old Life Dreams, which was based on four minutes I spent with this old fella, who came to live in the city, but who hated it.”

He doesn’t need to sit under a tree in nature to pen his poems but can write anywhere. “I can write in the lounge room with the TV on,” he says.

Three books in and David says his latest book, Out of Australia, a compilation of poetry, shows his journey in writing.
“The more I do the better I’m getting,” he says.

“This book will show how my writing has changed from 2007 to late 2009.” David experiments now with rhyme, free verse, and one of his latest passions is the sonnet.

He simply Googled sonnets to study their form and then started writing.

He is also studying how to write haiku, an ancient Japanese style of poetry.

“Eighty-five per cent I’ve taught myself,” David says.

He believes in keeping his work simple and not getting too caught up in whether or not it is appreciated by academics.

It’s why he quotes Stephen King in his latest book’s forward: “If a reader needs a thesaurus to understand the meaning of what you are trying to put across, you have lost them!”

In David’s words: “I don’t like the way academics write their free verse so that only another academics can decipher it.
“They are only seeking approval from their own.”

David, ironically, has been accepted by the academic world, having had a short story published for LINQ, the literary magazine of James Cook University, which had to be approved by a panel of academics.

“After submitting it, I edited it further, but they wanted the unedited version, because they said it was so natural, soAustralia,” David says.

Being so Australiais very much the attraction of David’s work, which is successful both here and overseas, and which he has won many awards for.

He still has a day job though, because poets are not well paid.

“I do it for the love.”

>> To read more about David Delaney, visit


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