Suit of Lights
The poems in Damian Walford Davies’ first full collection are fascinated by serrations of light, parodies of shadow, and all shades in between.
The bare flesh of a 1951 boxing match, luminous shirts in a country lane, surreal urban attire and the scales of a dying fish illuminate the volume with suits of light. This collection doesn’t shy away from the disturbing and violent: plague pits on the Piccadilly line, a landscape illuminated by atomic afterblast, an aria sung to the accompaniment of artillery fire. And yet these poems also celebrate precious interrelations: inscriptions of love on an effigy, charged mementos, the delicate breaking of ice. Irony and play give edge to the vision.
The volume contains a number of sequences, including ‘Kilvert’, which responds in a pared-down voice to some unnerving entries in the famous Victorian diary; the experimental ‘Aerial’, the result of a Cessna flight above ancient ground; and ‘Ideal City’, a series of letters to a visionary architect.