Wearing My Father’s Hat by David Munro Melbourne Poets Union Inc, 2020, was virtually launched by Indrani Perera on 4 November 2020.
I’m delighted to be here tonight to launch David Munro’s wonderful chapbook, Wearing My Father’s Hat. I just love the cover design and the feel of the book in my hands. It has been beautifully typeset and laid out. The white space on each page gives the poems room to breathe. To paraphrase Keats, it is a thing of beauty to treasure forever. Melbourne Poets Union have done a brilliant job of bringing David’s words to the world.
I first met David through his poetry when I attended the Moat Poets writing group which was formed by the amazing Australian poet, Judith Rodriguez. People usually share their poetry with you after they have grown to know and trust you. With David, however, the opposite was the case. As I got to know the man behind the poems, I wasn’t surprised to learn that he is just as witty and learned as his poetry.
I originally read a lot of the poems in this collection at the monthly Moat meetings so I thought it appropriate to ask some fellow Moaties for words to describe David’s poetry. ‘Flair, fluency and wit,’ was one comment. ‘Quietly witty, informed by the local and often poignant,’ was another. I’d add honest, intimate and moving to those observations.
To quote Douglas Adams, David’s poetry contains “life, the universe and everything”. Here are poems about the big bang, handballs and the pack; mites that live on your eye lashes, infinity, Archimedes, God, butterflies and burying a brother.
David’s poems are infused with wit, ‘An (Almost) True Story’, they are laced together with grief, ‘An Ordinary Life’ and ‘Father and Son’ and beaded with insights.
In ‘Synergy’, David introduces us to the limits of our imaginations and a mite that lives on our eyelashes. In this poem he takes us from the microscopic to the macroscopic. From the mite’s gut to the big bang and then back down to earth where we:
gasp at the night sky.
In ‘Pavlova for Breakfast’, there is a strong sense of place with pavlova for breakfast, a cricket match, a yacht race as well as a playful warping of our sense of time with the repetition of the phrase:
………………………….…..the day after
the day after the day before Christmas
Some of my favourite poems of David’s are about maths. The poem, ‘In The Beginning’, introduces us to the first mathematician and her:
scratched on bones …
from a time
before numbers had names.
Until I read these words of David’s, I had never really thought about the invention of counting, an act so integral to my daily life. I like that David’s interests and imagination force me to think about things I take for granted. And in reading this poem, I see the mystery and magic of numbers through David’s eyes.
This collection has exquisite lines of poetry such as:
with star-forged iron’
– Night Sky
also from ‘Night Sky’ comes this insight into human nature:
I asked, ‘How are you going?’
but didn’t listen to the answer.
It is hard to single out a poem in such an excellent collection, but at the moment the one that stands out for me is ‘Mourning’ for its craft and conclusion. The poem is written in two parts that intertwine throughout and then come together at the end. In doing so it tackles its subject with sensitivity and speaks of what it means to lose those we love.
This beautifully balanced collection ends with a letter to his daughter which is tender and heartfelt.
This is a stunning debut from a talented poet, and I have been dipping into his words again and again for their insights and humour. I already have several of David’s zines and I am so pleased to add this chapbook to my collection of his work.
Thanks for the great collection, David, and congratulations on the publication of your chapbook, Wearing My Father’s Hat.
– Indrani Perera
Indrani Perera is a Melbourne poet, creator of the Poets’ Express e-mail newsletter and founder of The Pocketry Almanack print journal. She is the author of Promote Your Poetry and the poetry collections Defenestration and Pas De Deux published by Ginninderra Press. Her poetry has appeared in Cordite and Not Very Quiet and been anthologised by Geelong Writers Inc, Ginninderra Press and WA Poets Inc. You can find her at www.indraniperera.com and learn more about the Pocketry Almanack at www.pocketry.com.au.
Wearing My Father’s Hat is available from: www.melbournepoetsunion.com.au