While a poet in love with language slept on the beach, his shadow went for a long swim in the ocean, breathing water as only shadows can; on returning and before reattachment it shook itself dry. The poet woke to the memories of his shadow’s journey and the paradox of retching seawater while laughing with gusto in abundant air. Then he crafted—and crafted—one of the most delightfully original debut collections of poetry published in Australia in recent years. This is it.
Toby Davidson beguiles with his imaginative abundance and evolved ability to strike the right note to set each poem in his debut book resonating. Davidson’s work is playful, yet also ennobled by a profound sense of what it means to survive in these chaotic modern times. An elegiac poet of the road, of human possibility and triumph and rigorously attentive to every word, he never lets the dust settle; Beast Language has swank, flair, enormous breadth, and some of the most zestful verbal structures I have read in a long time. A real treasure.
Toby Davidson’s Beast Language is a remarkable first book of poetry. With each reading,
there are new revelations. Like Blake’s ‘Mental Traveller’ the narrator of this book pays
fierce attention to the human ‘beast’ and listens to the language of the political climate,
all done with insistent though complex music. A wondrous achievement, a book to boost
the spirit with a lyrical alertness and visionary pitch that is thrilling to read.