Haiku

Dancing on Thin Ice – Reader Review

I was delighted to receive a review of Dancing on Thin Ice from Julia Kobel, who is someone I haven’t met, but picked up a copy of my book from my mentor Ted Eames. I have included Julia’s kind words below as I thought it might encourage some extra sales from an indecisive few.

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Dancing on Thin Ice review by Julia Kobel.

Content should be the most important consideration when engaging with new work but I admit to finding the look and feel of a book to be influential. In this case the size, cover illustration, presentation and format seemed very right. The stylised image of Nathan draws the eye and gives the reader a visual connection to the writer before any words have been read, other than the title. And the title is well chosen; it’s something we all do to some extent. Having now read this book I see Nathan’s eyes as two light beacons which cut through and pierce the darkest of places, exposing what is there to be seen if we choose to look.

The introduction and the foreword explain how Nathan’s collection came into being. I always find this kind of information interesting. Much hinges on the fact that Nathan was encouraged to try out the tanka form at Ted’s workshop; one of those chance life encounters which prove so significant.

The definition of Ataxia was factually helpful in that I’m not familiar with this disease. But the list poem was more helpful in that it took the list of symptoms and applied them; giving the reader a comprehensive picture of what having this disease means to every aspect of Nathan’s life. This feels to me fearless writing in that Nathan writes honestly, knowingly and unsparingly; he drives in a straight line at personal issues, not taking the option of going around the block. The lines in italics reinforce the description of ‘living with Ataxia’; and lines directly addressing the reader such as, ‘Did I mention it’s a struggle?’ are very involving. To me this is not the voice of someone whose soul is being suffocated by his disease but someone whose voice/soul is flowing free in its desire to be heard.

I liked the arrangement of the tanka poems being wrapped by the two list poems. Choosing the tanka form to document 2017 was such a good decision. Nathan’s sharp insights are suited to the tight structure, comments hit home because they are so word undiluted. Dividing the poems into three titled sections works well. It helps to establish what is of importance to him. A future workshop exercise could be to read and place the poems into the most appropriate set. I appreciate titles and so I particularly enjoyed the ones which turned well known phrases on their head eg ‘How to lose friends and alienate people’. It did cross my mind that Nathan should put himself forward to write political messages/slogans as he has an insightful mind and his own particular way of truth telling.

Set among the tanka are some haiku. This change of form makes them stand out, in a good way. Their even fewer words crystallise the message. It made me think that the haiku is like the nut inside a tanka word shell.

I read this collection in one sitting because it deserves to be read in entirety and the writing demands this of the reader. It was never intended to be an easy read and it isn’t. Nathan’s writing confronts our perception of what it’s really like to be disabled. There are no tea and biscuit scenarios here, more raw steak and whisky (I hope I’m not offending a vegetarian!). I am an able bodied person living in a bubble world, my life is nothing like Nathan’s. But I recognise that what Nathan is saying is important, important for us all. The poetry vehicle he has chosen to share his thoughts and feelings is appropriate and right. My reading of Dancing on Thin Ice has left me feeling that I have …… learned, been challenged, unsettled, shocked, moved and other emotions I can’t even name. And that is as it should be. ‘Lust for Life’ (one of my favourites) says that it’s ‘Time to shake things up’ ……. be proud, you have enabled that in a most moving way. Thank you.

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This review is extremely satisfying for me. It shows that I have managed to reach my audience in the way that I had hoped to. The fact that I seem to have been accepted as a writer of tanka poetry, does tend to make me nervous in a way. I do not think it would be healthy to remain stuck in this style and I should explore other areas of poetry.

This is, of course, quite a nerve wracking thing as it would mean reinventing myself and possibly disappointing readers. I cannot afford to keep repeating myself in the tight tanka structure.

What do people think I should do next in terms of poetry?

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You can make a purchase of Dancing on Thin Ice directly through me, or if you live further afield, simply contact me through social media or the contact page of this blog. Don’t forget to include your name and address. I will have to charge £7.99 for those who cannot pick up their copy of the book to cover my postage costs.

Dancing on Thin Ice  is also available through eBay. 

Dancing on Thin Ice – Available Now

I have just received a delivery of 150 copies of my new poetry book. This features Tanka, Haiku and List Poems over 76 pages. It can be bought for just £5.

You can make a purchase directly through me, or if you live further afield, simply contact me through social media or the contact page of this blog. Don’t forget to include your name and address. I will then work out postage costs and advise you of payment methods.

It is a good read, and if you don’t believe me, maybe you should look at the following endorsements that I am honoured to have adorning the back cover of my latest publication:

“Nathan is a force of nature and an inspiration. To create in the face of great struggle is a noble feat. That Nathan refuses to be silenced by his personal circumstances or by a political system that appears to actively penalise those who need the most support is a testament to his strength, both as an individual and writer. It would be easy for Nathan to fold inward, to focus solely on his own experience, but while these poems do offer deeper, heart-wrenching insights into his world of living with Ataxia, they also artfully illustrate our writer’s wider crusade to campaign for justice and fair treatment for all who are dis-abled by their interactions with our ableist world. These are not poems that sit easily with a reader of any conscience. There is nowhere for any fair minded person to hide in Nathan’s words, that reflect the rock-hard world of his experience. By firing these sniper gunshots of truth, Nathan refuses to shy away from the casualties created by our unjust world, instead he zooms the lens in closer, daring the reader to blink first”.

Sophie McKeand

“If you don’t want to hear profanities, look away now. Nathan Davies’ collection of tanka is not for the faint-hearted or conflict-avoidant, nor for the reader who finds it easier to feel pity than rage. Davies brings us up close and personal with his articulate anger, which has its roots in an intolerance of social injustice. These are important poems which punch above their 5 line weight, leaving us readers inspired, enraged, motivated to act and defeated before we’ve started. Every line is delivered in the authentic voice of someone who knows only too well what he’s talking about”

Liz Lefroy

These are humbling words and the fact that they come from two renowned poets that I admire completely, means so much to me. They have both influenced my writing, and made it possible for the book to be created.

While I am giving out thanks, I must pay tribute to Ter-Jaiden Wray who designed the front cover and my friend and poetic mentor Ted Eames, who has been instrumental in helping me reach this point.

I hope those who buy a copy, get much enjoyment from my poems…

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Dancing on Thin Ice

I am excited to announce the imminent release of my second book: Dancing on Thin Ice.

This is a volume of poetry by myself, including Tanka, Haiku and List Poems. It will retail for just £5 and will be an ideal stocking filler for friends and family. It is due to be officially launched at an Arts and Activism talk that Ted Eames and I are giving at Glyndwr University on November 13th.

For those of you who would like to pre-order your copy, you will also receive a free badge of the South Park character that represents myself on my book covers and as the icon on this blog.  The badge can be viewed below.

I would also like to thank Terence-Jaiden Wray for his magnificent work on designing the front cover of my latest volume. He has done a tremendous job that really adds to the professional feel of my work. I would also like to recognise the efforts of Ted Eames in helping me put this book together, introducing me to the Tanka form and giving me confidence in my work.

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Colour Chart

Haiku is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. A Haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. I will publish these poems in a book to be released in 2018, utilising the team of illustrators I have assembled to help me add images to my words and create the type of book that I envisage.  I am speaking with students from Glyndwr University who are collaborating with me on this exciting project. Two of the talented artists who have agreed to illustrate my work are Julie Rogers-Owen and Heather Wilson.

I am aware that John Cooper-Clarke is performing at the Live Rooms in Chester next month. Unfortunately I was unable to get tickets for this event due to my lack of dexterity and lack of support. By the time I had the assistance that I needed to complete the online purchase form, the tickets had all sold out. I was planning on hanging around outside the venue to meet John Cooper-Clarke and get his advice on performing poetry, however I have just realised that I will be in Cardiff on the date in question as I have been invited to a cross-party meeting to give a talk on the Welsh Independent Living Grant, buggerations. I suppose this is what happens when you become a celebrity 🙂

Roses can be red

Violets considered blue

Envy is dark green

Switch Off Your TV Set

Haiku is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. A Haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. I will publish these poems in a book to be released in 2018, utilising the team of illustrators I have assembled to help me add images to my words and create the type of book that I envisage.  I am speaking with students from Glyndwr University who are collaborating with me on this exciting project. Two of the talented artists who have agreed to illustrate my work are Julie Rogers-Owen and Heather Wilson.

As well as the book, we are also planning an exhibition of my poetry in April in addition to the #SaveWILG exhibition – a collection of visual art, poetry and photographs produced by a number of artists across the UK, focusing on independent living as a whole. The exhibition will open on January 24th at 3pm in the Education Gallery at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, north Wales. It will continue until February 12th. Please come to show your support for this campaign and enjoy the powerful and emotive art created by people with passion and determination that are united in the belief that disabled lives matter. Everyone is welcome to the official media launch of the event on February 2nd at 3pm at Theatr Clwyd.

​Both of these events are being organised with the support of Disability Arts Cymru.

Locked in struggle

While you mindless idiots

Feed on distractions

Sour Times

Haiku is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. A Haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

This is my 23rd Haiku poem of 2017 and – along with the 121 Tanka poems I have written so far – I am well on my way to putting together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. I would like to publish these poems in a book to be released in 2018, and I am close to finding a team of illustrators to help me add images to my words and create the type of book that I envisage.  I am speaking with students from Glyndwr University who are interested in collaborating with me on this exciting project. Two of the talented artists who have agreed to illustrate my work are Julie Rogers-Owen and Heather Wilson. Samples of their work can be found by clicking on their names. There are other artists involved but I do not have links to their work at the moment. I hope to rectify this soon.

After so many short poems I am itching to write a longer verse that is not restricted by the number of syllables permitted. I now have the confidence to take on this challenge that has been inspired by the poetry of John Cooper Clarke. I am also worried that I am beginning to repeat certain phrases and feel that I need to work from a fresh palate. I will still be producing Tanka and Haiku poems, but feel the time is right to explore other forms of poetry.

Dreams do not come true

If they did, I wouldn’t be here

Stuck in this nightmare

Exit Music

Haiku is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. A Haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

This is my  22nd Haiku poem of 2017 and – along with the 121 Tanka poems I have written so far – I am well on my way to putting together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. I would like to publish these poems in a book to be released in 2018, and I am close to finding a team of illustrators to help me add images to my words and create the type of book that I envisage.  I am speaking with students from Glyndwr University who are interested in collaborating with me on this exciting project. Two of the talented artists who have agreed to illustrate my work are Julie Rogers-Owen and Heather Wilson. Samples of their work can be found by clicking on their names. There are other artists involved but I do not have links to their work at the moment. I hope to rectify this soon.

After so many short poems I am itching to write a longer verse that is not restricted by the number of syllables permitted. I now have the confidence to take on this challenge that has been inspired by the poetry of John Cooper Clarke. I am also worried that I am beginning to repeat certain phrases and feel that I need to work from a fresh palate. I will still be producing Tanka and Haiku poems, but feel the time is right to explore other forms of poetry.

Do not be afraid

Look beyond this empty shell

My spirit dances free