We did not have bookshelves as such until Bill, a carpenter-neighbour, built some on the back walled-in verandah that housed a sofa in front of a television. This was the cultural centre of the house: rock and roll, news, soaps, dramas, football and the wrestling – not to forget Shintaro in The Samurai.
Before the shelves’ construction you could encounter books when you opened cupboards – the bathroom as you grabbed a towel; at high level in the kitchen where volumes were stashed behind the cornucopia of medicines that attends nine people in one house; in spare spaces under jumpers or shoes in wardrobes; in boxes in the shed; on top of furnniture and under beds.
My father was a journalist and poet and, not surprisingly, his children are infected with his literary genetic code. My brother Paul has alluded to this in the acknowledgements of his new book of poetry, An Existential Grammar. He writes that Ken, who also wrote under the name John Dawes, ‘filled our house with books and words.’
It is not Paul’s first publication. He has written about investments and business, being an actuary and financier. But he has resharpened his quill in recent years as a poet and the book is his latest offering.
It is hard to decide whether to review or plug it. Either way, the message is the same. It is well worth a look.