"Stark, poised, precisely observed, James Davey’s poetry well demonstrates how much more emotion is conveyed the greater the restraint. The poems also exhibit an impressive musicality, from the lilting to the percussive. Each poem rewards rereading." Carrie Etter
"These poems by James Davey are vivid, articulate and entertaining. They evoke the peculiar intensity of childhood fears, the angst of adolescence, the tremors of first loves. Davey has a gift for clear-eyed dramatic presentation, as well as an often-humorous take on human condition and a true empathy for the various characters he comes across, be they ‘pyroman’ a down-and-out who accumulates trash to burn, the terrified child taken on a hunting trip, or the lover discovering the ‘colours’ of a girlfriend. This is a promising and well-wrought debut." Amy Wack
"Davey’s work is confident, crafted, elegant in its simplicity. The poems are full of moments of recognition for the reader, subtle emotive power balancing understated humour. I trust him to show me something worth seeing with no fluff around the substance." Anna Freeman
Set in England and Italy, the poems of How to Parallel Park are very emotive, very molto a pelle.
How to Parallel Park is James Davey's debut poetry pamphlet. A sample poem can be found below.
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I am ten, slouched on a kitchen chair,
staring through a television set
on which the presenter is talking to hand-puppets.
Sitting on the back step, Dad pulls a dead rabbit
from a plastic bag, calls me over. Watch carefully,
he says. He cuts a surgical incision in its belly,
spoons out its viscera with his fingers.
Intestines slip from its gut. I shiver.
A delicacy, says Dad, smacking his lips.
The carcass lolls over his hand – eyes enamel.
He splays it on the stone step, severs
its head, legs, presses down on his blade,
cracking the pelvis in two –
a sound like splitting wood.
He rips free the pelt, presents it to me.
I hold it in open hands.
How to Parallel Park was chosen as the Atrium Poetry featured publication for April 2018. The feature, including three sample poems, can be found here.
"Only when I’d re-read the pamphlet did I realise how cleverly this poem offers parallel parking as a wider image. If you want to write about the past what do you do? You halt at an appropriate point in your life, look back, start to travel backwards carefully, manoeuvring yourself into the perfect space from which to write — and you may be surprised at what you discover.
"You also bring your sense of humour along for the ride."
D.A. Prince, Sphinx, the full OPOI (One Point of Interest) review here.