Back to the war
More than 30 years in the making, Frank Davey's careful archaeology of the catalogue of innocence his youthful imagination assembled growing up in and immediately after World War II is a work of astonishment. This is no lyrical work of sentimental nostalgia, no attempt to return to a romanticized "simpler past," no rediscovery of "the child within," but rather a careful reconstruction of "the child without." The reader moves through these poems, neither sanitized nor updated by their passage through experience, as one would through a gallery installation of intensely personal epiphanies, both frightening and ecstatic, lucid and obscure. They are stripped of any cultural preconception, a Blakean vision of the good and evil men and women do as they engage the other in a world at war--a world where the war is always somewhere else, but where the enemy, unseen, is everywhere present in the invented surrogates of combat.
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