A Swallow Press Book

A Trick of Sunlight

By Dick Davis

“[H]is prosodic manners are immaculate; this guy knows how to write formal verse, without a dropped, stretched, or off-beat foot anywhere in sight. ... Marvelous reading.”


“Davis’s poems exemplify Auden’s definition of the art as ‘the clear expression of mixed feelings.’ With a sly, self-deprecating wit, a wisdom that spurns bombast, they are charming, as well as intelligent, so clear and deftly controlled that a reader might overlook the ‘mixed feelings’ that they express, the disquiet and passionate ambivalence.”

Virginia Quarterly Review

“This volume is a perfect example of (Swallow Press/Ohio University Press’s) ability to find and publish the best of the genre. Davis has an uncanny knack of making amazingly accurate observations of seemingly everyday events.... Highly recommended.”

The Oklahoma Observer

“The pleasures it offers readers are rich and varied.”

The Hudson Review

In his new collection of poems, Dick Davis, the acclaimed author of Belonging, addresses themes that he has long worked with—travel, the experience of being a stranger, the clash of cultures, the vagaries of love, the pleasures and epiphanies of meaning that art allows us. But A Trick of Sunlight introduces a new theme that revolves around the idea of happiness—is it possible, must it be illusory, is its fleetingness an essential part of its nature so that disillusion is inevitable?

Many of the poems are shaded by the poet’s awareness of growing older, and by the ways that this both shuts down many of life’s possibilities and frees us from their demands. The levity of some verses here is something of a departure for Davis, but his insights can be mordant too, revealing darknesses as often as they invoke frivolity.

As Davis’s readers have come to expect, the poems in A Trick of Sunlight. aim at the aesthetic satisfactions that accompany accurate observations expressed with wit, intelligence, and grace. But they achieve as well an immediacy and rawness of vision that seem to belie his careful craft.

Dick Davis was born in Portsmouth, England. He is a professor of Persian at Ohio State University. He has published translations of prose from Italian and poetry and prose from Persian, and six books of his own poetry. His most recent collection, Belonging, was chosen by The Economist as a “Book of the Year” for 2002.

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Related Subjects

Poetry · Literary Studies



Retail price: $14.95, S.
Release date: May 2006
64 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights: World


Retail price: $24.95, S.
Release date: May 2006
64 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights: World


Release date: May 2006
≅ 64 pages
Rights: World