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The Double-Ended Key

Authors: Roy Davids

Published by Acumen

ISBN: 9781873161272

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"Roy Davids’s nature poems have an almost Chinese delicacy of perception. 'Fishing' is a good example – short enough to quote in its entirety (‘They lay like a broken mirror / in the bottom of the boat / as if the surface of the lake / had fallen from its frame / and we had gathered splinters / of the silvered glass.’). The collection includes three long elegies: two for his parents – feelings for his father and mother described with a self-revealing honesty which must have taken much courage to achieve; and the third, a celebration of his great friend Ted Hughes. For Davids, their relationship was probably the most important of his life (‘The mingled music of your voice – / like God auditioning for Man.’). And the charming, witty and accomplished poem, ‘On being told that a crow knocked at Ted Hughes’s window early in the morning’, from which I quote the last line, gives evidence of how much he learned from his friend (‘Come King Crow. Come croaking.’)."
Ruth Fainlight

"In this fine collection, Roy Davids writes with a serene and stylish love of the English landscape and classical music. He quietly sings of several good friends, and in the longest and most moving poem in The Double-Ended Key, ‘Memories, Reflections, Gratitudes, 1998 and later,’ he celebrates his long and deep friendship with Ted Hughes: ‘his huge handsome head held low, watching me caught in the spiral of words.’ In another poem ‘Father’ he writes about his father who abandoned his mother and him when he was only 30 months old. This is an impressive collection, which all its readers will greatly enjoy."
Tom Paulin

"If you are a catwalk voyeur of fashionably anorexic slim volumes, read no further; but if you like your poetry full-bloodied, The Double-Ended Key will let you into a world where: '... the garden / sports a stand of ruby roses, / and a harlequin balloon, / a big fig, floats by, / belching flames, and roaring'; a world where a woman, who has waited for a son, '... again she waits upon./ But now he also waits / for her. It's time for her to go. / They lock the churchyard up / on the stroke of eight o'clock.'"
Jon Stallworthy

Roy Davids was formerly Head of the Department of Printed Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s. Before then he was a teacher, historian, and cataloguer for an antiquarian bookseller. Since leaving Sotheby’s he was a dealer in manuscripts and portraits of artistic people on his own account until 2006. He is the author of Provenance: Collectors, Dealers and Scholars in the Field of Chinese Ceramics in Britain and America (2011); a pamphet of poems, White Noise (Acumen, 2006); and articles on manuscripts and related subjects, portraits and Ted Hughes. He is a collector of prose and poetical manuscripts, portraits and porcelain.
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