Bruce Dawe (Donald Bruce Dawe) Biography
(1930– ), (Donald Bruce Dawe), No Fixed Address, A Need of Similar Name, Beyond the Subdivisions
Australian poet, born in Geelong, Victoria; he left school at 16 and worked at many jobs prior to attending the universities of Melbourne and Queensland. Dawe's talent in articulating large issues through everyday concerns is clear from his first poetry volumes No Fixed Address (1962) and A Need of Similar Name (1965). A Roman Catholic poet, his concerns are non-sectarian; Dawe has written of his desire to speak for ‘the lost people in our midst for whom no one speaks, and who cannot speak for themselves’. In volumes such as Beyond the Subdivisions (1969) and Condolences of the Season (1971) Dawe employs a vernacular voice at once laconic and expressive, the human (or perhaps Australian) instinct for wry understatement being used to capture the tenuousness of human achievement against the inexpressible finality of mortality. Sometimes Gladness: Collected Poems 1954–1978 (1978; new edition 1983, with poems to 1982; new edition 1993, with poems to 1992) demonstrated the breadth of his achievements, not least the pervasive humour of what might seem pessimistic themes. Dawe finely exploits nuances of Australian language and speech to express perceptions of the transubstantiality of the ordinary in terms familiar yet complex. Other publications include Towards Sunrise: Poems 1979–1985 (1986) and This Side of Silence: Poems 1987–1990 (1990); and a collection of short stories, Over Here, Harv! (1983). See Ken Goodwin's Adjacent Worlds: A Literary Life of Bruce Dawe (1988) and Bruce Dawe: Essays and Opinions (1990).