“In his new collection of poetry full of lyrical beauty and insight, David Calcutt takes us on a journey into a world of nature, landscape and myth to witness all that is fresh and dissolving. The heart of the collection explores the fragility of life, the raw impact of bereavement and the world’s tendency to render pain ultimately bearable with its constant, reliable surprises.
He shows us ‘milky light’, stillness, the melting edges of tender experience.
There are luminous poems touching on love and industry with its ‘tidal wave of red flame’, delicate poems set in the natural landscape where trees ‘weep fat drops.’ The language of grief combines intensity with great delicacy where ‘kestrels hang below the clouds’ and the ‘moored boat is set adrift.’
There are poems of flight, of the river’s relentless flow, of all that
is buried in the earth and how our direct experience leads us back to the coming dawn always within touching distance. This is a collection full of grace, at once deeply authentic and heart-felt, a set of beautiful lyrical poems I shall return to time and again.”
“Calcutt’s poetry is of a lyrical beauty and solemnity that demands many readings and a suspension of too much curiosity about factual detail… like mist or fire, it isn’t easy to remove a piece from the whole and still have a sense of its power as a complete entity.
Through use of accessible and vivid imagery, infused with David’s knowledge of myth and folklore, and crafted with the eye of a playwright and storyteller, the poems in this first collection are brought to another level by experience of personal loss.”
David Calcutt was born and lives in the West Midlands. He has written many plays for both theatre and radio and published several novels and stories for children, as well as four pamphlets of poetry. This is his first full collection. And is keenly awaited by his current fans.
A poem from The last of the light is not the last of the light by David Calcutt:
That Day of Leaving
That day of leaving
there was a mist
over the hills and on the sea
it was like a shutter
pulled down across the brain. A kestrel hung
below the cloud
it was seeking the rabbit
that sat cowering
in my skull. You, curlew
were nowhere to be seen
your cry lay sodden
on the muddy shore
a length of frayed rope
coiled beneath dunes
and the boat
that moored there
its only passenger
my homeless ghost.
lead me to a landing.
SOME OF HIS PREVIOUS WORK:
Poetry: Outlaws (Iron Press), Road Kill and Through the Woods (Fair Acre Press), The Old Man in the House of Bone (V. Press).
Novels and Stories: Crowboy, Shadow Bringer, The Map of Marvels, Why the Sea is Salty, The Journey of Odysseus (Oxford University Press), Robin Hood (Barefoot Books).
Published plays include: Lady Macbeth, Salem, Beowulf, The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Dracula (Oxford University Press)
Broadcast plays include: Paper Doll, The Bogeyman, The Otherworld Child, The Daughter of the Sea, Walker in the Night, Lady of Flowers and Feathers, Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, The Last of the Mohicans, Fahrenheit 451, The Return of the Native (BBC). Theatre Productions include: Ruff Moey, The Ballad of Billy Earp (Theatre Foundry), The Map of Marvels (Pentabus), Assassin of the Sun (Tabard Theatre), Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Prospero’s Island, The Mothers, The White Shining Land, The Ward, Descent, (Midland Actors Theatre), The Life and Times of the Tat Man, Winter Tales, The Darlaston Dog Fight (Regional Voice Theatre).
On ‘Road Kill’
“There is a constant celebration of the seasons and cycles of the life of the countryside. The holistic, biocentric vision widens in the later poems to embrace folklore and mythology. All this in a luminous accessible verse.”
Keith Sagar – Biographer of Ted Hughes, author of Literature and the Crimes against Nature.
“I am hugely impressed. By concentrating on the small things, really looking at them, Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt have managed to articulate something enormous. There is something shamanic, redemptive even, about the progress of the poems into the woods.”
Katrina Porteous – Poet. Historian. Broadcaster.
On ‘Through the Woods’
“This is a deeply satisfying, layered work that will bear rereading.”
Jan Fortune, Envoi magazine.
On ‘The Old Man in the House of Bone’
“The Old Man in the House of Bone is a humane and tender account of an old man’s mental and physical decline into the final silence. David Calcutt’s imagery grows from the page and fixes itself inside the skull. He is a master magician, a seeker of darkness.”
Helen Ivory – Poet. Visual Artist. Editor of Ink, Sweat & Tears.”
“Having been a nurse on psycho-geriatric wards everything here rang true, is the best description of the process of dementia I’ve come across.”
Sam Smith – Poet. Author. Editor of The Journal.
This precise and striking series of poems is both consequential and sequential; each one building on the previous and the following like sediment, creating a brooding and disquieting atmosphere. Calcutt’s poetry is alert and surefooted – written with a humane touch, and always compelling.”
Jane Commane – Poet. Editor/Director of Nine Arches Press.