The title Dangerous Dog raises expectations of a certain aggressive, punky aesthetic, which is certainly present, but the collection is richer and broader than that, even surprisingly traditional in places. The poems explore a truly impressive range of themes and moods, from the small-scale and domestic in poems such as ‘Asleep: Breathing Observed’ and ‘Burberry Tie’, to meditations on humankind’s place in the universe and the nature of freedom.

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The ‘title track’ ‘Dangerous Dog’ is like a key to the whole book. Images of confinement (there’s a recurring motif of car interiors throughout the book) are juxtaposed with images of nature. The dog is dangerous indeed, not for the reasons you might expect, but for the way it offers us a vision of how free we could be. This is a theme picked up in the final poem, ‘Saturday Night Murmurations’.

The most ‘on-the-nose,’ explicitly political poem is perhaps ‘Heritage’. Don’t read this one if you have National Trust membership. David speaks of grinding prisons and castles into dust in lines that remind me of Blake’s ‘London’. But he cleverly undercuts the polemic – in the fourth section, the rage subsides and the poem reaffirms the importance of kindness and living life through human relationships.

Dangerous Dog works incredibly well as a whole. The sequencing of the poems reveals threads and connections which enrich the meanings of the individual poems.  Andrew Myers, Hastings Independent Press.  Full review here.

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