The Monthly interviews Australian writer and poet David Grant Lloyd – Part 2 – The Book “Alive in Dubbo”

How does the book come about?

It took many years, an incredibly long journey. I have been writing consistently for the last ten years at least about my life in Dubbo, writing about interactions, about experiences, about things that I see, and I had compiled hundreds of pages of poems.

When it came to submitting the poems to publishers I had to discriminate quite sharply, putting many poems to the side so that I could have a book that was manageable.

Flying Islands was the publisher who agreed to publish the book. They were pretty much the first publisher I sent my work to, if I remember rightly.

Did you structure the books contents?

Yes. It must be a bit like digging for Opals because I found that if you keep sifting through your work, keep at the curatorial process, you eventually find the gems. You just have to keep persevering. I basically went for a chronological approach or as close as I could to it.

The poetry is highly layered and covers many topics and ideas. Was that a conscious effort?

I started off, and I think most writers start off like this, or at least I assume they do, just documenting my life story. That was the initial seed, but as you write there emerges a much wider story, a story about colonial aspects, race, immigration, natural surroundings, unnatural surroundings and as I mentioned earlier, resilience and disenchantment.

How has it been received?

It has had mixed reactions. Some people really liked it, people told me that it had an impact with them. Other people have told me it made them feel uncomfortable, and I think that is due to some of the more confrontational aspects of the poetry.

I did a reading in Glebe for the launch of the book and there were people who decided to buy the book on the strength of that. So mixed reactions as I said, with some people finding a lot in the work to connect with.

South High

(David Grant Lloyd from “Alive in Dubbo”)

My mates and I hung around the bell tower
Strange fruit grew on the trees.
You’ll end up in the gutter!
There were some who fainted from the brilliance of the sun
when assemblies were held in the quad.
We tried for a while,
only five of us graduated
nowhere to channel.
We’d go to the shops on Boundary Road
across from the tavern,
and buy pies or chips or Cokes or Winfield Blues.
And we’d smoke by the oval:
Home of The Dubbo Demons.

Has it been nominated for any prizes?

There isn’t much open at the moment, it’s still too early in the year, but the book was nominated for the best first book award through Five Islands Press, an independent Australian publisher. I think it has also recently been nominated for next year’s Griffin Poetry Prize in Canada.

Where to now?

I am going to be reading at Mark Mordue’s Addison Road Writer’s Festival in May and I am working on new poems and sifting through previous works, hopefully to produce a new book in the near future.

You can find David Grant Lloyd’s book “Alive in Dubbo” at the link below

and more information at the following link –

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.