DIRT ROADS by John Davies


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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.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1998
ISBN: 1-85411-184-1
Page count: 72pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998