Bolt Down [This Earth] was one of the most solid debut collections I’ve read.
Lyric energy and inventiveness, full-throated and confident.
A striking collection, full of vitality and enjoyment of the poetic craft.
A confidence-inspiring level of craft that is never forced.
These are poems whose subtle inventiveness works its way into your subconsciousness, poems that you will want to revisit time and again.
Powerful stuff indeed.
Davies evokes psychological states of inner turmoil via language which is estranged and troubling, yet beautifully constructed in its disaffection
Davies can never be accused of leaving his reader unmoved.
Bolt Down This Earth is published by V. Press and is Gram Joel Davies’ first poetry collection.
Bolt Down This Earth pulses with energy. These poems hang between ambition and loss; they span survival in the home and on hilltops, stretch over break-ups and break-downs. Gram Joel Davies strips back the boards of existence to look at the wires—searching for human voices where the breeze hums though cable or branch. Adolescent ritual turns to a “lightbulb crushed into light.” His imagery is electrifying. Harmony and dissonance cause unexpected meanings to crackle and spark, while scenes and relationships fuse, so that a “power station is an ice cube / across the mica flats / and cider stymies us.”
“Linguistically bold and alive to the thisness of its moments, Bolt Down This Earth is a debut collection of lyric energy and inventiveness, full-throated and confident in its own power to convince. An arrival to be celebrated.” ~ Martin Malone
“Gram Joel Davies’s first collection slips deftly between a West Country past and the present. The poems are full of taut observation and meticulous attention to detail. And though there is an urban feel to many of them, the collection is brimful of nature. The poems are often peopled with the troubled or misunderstood, and the worlds they move in are shadowy and uncomfortable versions of those we know – almost dystopian at times. There is often a sense of the narrator or central character being the outsider (a boy almost drowning, two teenagers exploring a derelict hospital, a father too fond of his drink) and there is a disquieting and almost violent sensuality too. The complexity of the worlds these people move in is echoed by the complexity of the way Davies puts words together – sometimes joining two words together to create new words; weaving something rich and new that casts its melancholy spell over the reader, but never excludes them. In these poems the uncomfortable tinnitus of the past encroaches on the very real tinnitus of the present. This is compounded in the powerful Tinnitus sequence that is dotted throughout the collection − like a central column that the other poems hang on. The cumulative effect of the layering of numerous and various language is both troubling and stunning. These are poems whose subtle inventiveness works its way into your subconsciousness, poems that you will want to revisit time and again.” ~ Julia Webb