Cravings for a spectacular sun by Peter Davis.
When Peter Davis was a featured poet at the iconic La Mama Theatre earlier this year, he left a pile of “Cravings for a spectacular sun” on a table near the door with a note saying “free to a loving home”. On the inside sleeve, Davis suggests donating to 3CR. To so openly eschew the traditional consumerist approach to the distribution of poetry, while supporting a Melbourne grassroots public radio station, with his debut collection is an unambiguous statement – Davis’ poetic is wholistic, political and spiritual in the best sense. The poems in this book, published late in 2009, amply reflect that approach.
The first stanza of the book is breathtaking in its simplicity of observation and compassion for life in all its forms.
The first bird to sing before dawn is bravest,
barely able to see, slowly rotating her neck. You
should subtract by one, the number of persons
suggested for a tent. An ancient saying,
‘Where once was fire, there may still be hot coals’.
My ex-lover lays asleep in warm ash.
“cravings for a spectacular sun”
Davis has lived with HIV for the last twenty-four years, has spent time as a hermit in the bush and a lot of time at inner-city pubs and clubs, has a young son, and busks often at the Footscray train station. All these elements of his life filter into a poetry that is deeply personal but never self-indulgent – the sensitivity, restraint and composure always opens the poems out onto the broader world. Sometimes surreal, almost always surprising, “Cravings for a spectacular sun” affects the reader like an enlightened Frank O’Hara or a gentler Robert Adamson, yet it is utterly unique.
I believe in life after death, of course I believe that life will continue without me
we can learn to support the sky with dust, singing of faith like crickets in chorus
death is a serenade by a dog licking a busker’s watch and leaving three whiskers.
“when I die let my dog serenade me”
Since the mid 90s, Andy Jackson has read at dozens of events and festivals (including The Age Melbourne Writers Festival, Australian Poetry Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Newcastle Young Writers Festival and Overload Poetry Festival), had poems published in a variety of print and on-line journals, been awarded grants from the Australia Council and Arts Victoria, been the recipient of an Australian Society of Authors mentorship, and self-published two collections of poetry. He is also an infrequent collaborator with musicians, sound artists and other writers. His most recent collection of poems, Among the Regulars, was released by papertiger media in 2010. He is currently working on a series of ghazals.