There are worlds within our own in which even the smallest victories are hard won, the tender moment is almost unbearable, and the understated rings like a bell. Belonging, a new collection by British poet Dick Davis, is an extended visit to these worlds.
Deepened by his dry wit and the formal rigor of his verse, the poems of Belonging negotiate their way among personal and political divides—generations in a family, man and woman, and the tentative present and our inherited pasts.
But behind much of the writing there is also a desire for a kind of idealized belonging—to a clerisy of civilized and humane decency which can be found intermittently in all cultures and is the monopoly of none. Davis’s own cosmopolitan background provides the context for many of the poems, yet he is concerned always to find the humanly universal within the local and anecdotal—a hope realized in these careful and incandescent poems.