Books by John Davies

Released: May 2, 2018

"An often visually sumptuous foray into faraway lands. "
Davies' debut collection of photographs provides a window into his international travels. Read full book review >
DIRT ROADS by John Davies
Released: March 9, 1998

The fourth collection by Davies, a Welsh poet who's also taught at Brigham Young, scans the landscapes of Wales and the American West in poems as rocky and jagged as the earth it celebrates. Dropping pronouns, and sneaking in an occasional rhyme, Davies's muscular verse measures the lives spent by cave-dwellers, cowboys, and panhandlers (—Cave,— —Sheriff,— and —Gold—). In Wales, it's always slate: His uncle is slate after lugging so much to build his roof (—Lift That—). And when the poet isn—t doing manly things'shooting a Mauser, rock-climbing, or fishing—he pays obeisance to his Welsh forebears in poetry: He derives a sonnet sequence from 14 Welsh language poems about slate, rocks, and depressed villages. He also acknowledges the Anglo-Welsh poets Alun Lewis and R.S. Thomas in poems that aren—t always clear, but sound good—full of the tough phrasing that distinguishes the best of Davies rough verses. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1994

From the Ice Age until 1992: the story of Wales, expertly chronicled by renowned Welsh scholar Davies (Welsh History/University College of Wales). The Welsh can claim to be the original Britons. They preserved a language and culture—and, for many centuries, a legal code— that, along with their topographical isolation, kept them distinct from the Angles (``English''), Saxons, and later Norman invaders. The subjugation of Welsh land by the English occurred in stages: the vanquishing of Llywelyn's revolution in 1282; the Act of Union in 1532; and the effects of the new commercial world that opened up after the Revolution of 1689 and led to the mixed blessings of the Industrial Revolution. Here, Davies relates the history of his people with proper pride. Avoiding sentimental generalizations and the temptation of portraying the Welsh as victims, he offers a closely written monument of scholarship lightened by flashes of dry humor. Davies sees radicalism as an important Welsh trait, exemplified in the Welsh role in the Chartist movement and, more recently, in the politics of the Liberal and Labor parties. He questions the common view that Methodism and Revivalism were authentic expressions of Welsh culture, and he points out that many Welsh migrated to America, especially to Pennsylvania, and that one-third of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were their descendants. In the late 18th century, he adds, rumors abounded that America had been ``discovered'' in 1170 by a Welshman, one Madog, and that a tribe of Welsh-speaking Indians, the Madogwys, still dwelt deep within the continent. Davies devotes the last third of his book to the recent political scene in Wales, including the growth of the nationalist party, Plaid Cymru. He concludes that tenacity and adaptation to changed circumstances are the hallmarks of this nation, whose fullness is yet to be. Not for the casual reader—but a must for all who love to trace the story of an ancient people. (Thirty-three maps and diagrams) Read full book review >