Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award 2018 (Wales Book of the Year Awards)
Bodies. Rhythms. Motion. Sounds. All fours is a debut collection of poetry from Nia Davies, a book of rituals in language that stalk the space between what is uttered and what is meant. These poems are haunted by the strange traces of the longest words in the world and folk-mythic figures such as Sinbad, Eurydice, Mossy Coat, Pan and Baba Yaga. They pose riddles with multiple or mysterious answers.
A swerving sweary jump into a terrain that is both comically musical and perplexedly political, All fours speaks of the (mis)adventures of sex and human communication, a life full-to-bursting with burning questions.
'For all their humour and disarming daftness, Davies’s poems do make space for the serious, the pertinent, the uncomfortable… Profane and charismatic, lovely and at times infuriating, Nia Davies’s poetry glitters above all thanks to its energy.' – Leaf Arbuthnot, Times Literary Supplement
‘Nia Davies’ peculiar and witty All fours is an interrogation of language and sexuality, psychoanalysis and gender, violence and the body, and the values and meaning that we assign to each. Her poetry is surprising, strange, experimental… All fours is challenging, but its content… is urgent.’ – Suzannah V. Evans, New Welsh Review
‘In her first full-length poetry collection, Nia Davies performs a dance of the seven veils, with arms, legs and various other body-parts flashing into view. Language works in layers, filmy transparencies that obscure and reveal meaning. The stories we glimpse can be personal and intimate, abstract, or a reading of collective history. Sex, bodies, explicit language, and a sense of feminist social anger are some of the themes that emerge.’ – Mary Jacob, Planet [on All fours]
‘Nia Davies’s poems are sharply attentive to the realm of the ‘inner ear’, a meeting point of external and internal environments. The lines have their own intense music, but instead of approaching song’s recognition and resolution they push towards the unfamiliar. Archaeologies and soundscapes are carefully excavated in language that sparks at every turn, while multiple directions open for the reader and ‘choice is a parallelogram / best made on the slant”.’ —Zoë Skoulding
‘Bemused, amused, angry, frustrated, erudite, discursive, and always fresh (fresh is one of the words that might deﬁne Nia’s poetry) she comes at them from every angle.' – Mark Waldron
‘Nia Davies quietly dismembers the world around her with a gleeful irreverence and quirky humour. This is poetry full of unexpected twists and turns which both delights and disturbs in equal measures. What a treat to have this substantial collection from one of the most enigmatic new voices in poetry today.' – Geraldine Monk
‘Nia Davies writes rich and adventurous poems. Her work feels borderless… In the event that an “I” surfaces in her work, it is defiantly plastic and multivalent.’ – Dai George<
Nia Davies reads from All fours at Ledbury
Nia Davies reads and introduces ten poems from her Bloodaxe debut collection, All fours (2017), at Ledbury Poetry Festival on 1st July 2018, when she shared the stage in the town’s Burgage Hall with Caroline Bird. The poems she reads are: ‘About me’, ‘With Sinbad’; two poems about Orpheus, ‘I know descent lives in the word decent’ and ‘& blow in the god’s good wake to leave my only pounded dust’; ‘Mossy Coat’, ‘Poem with sex’, ‘A word in your shell-like’, ‘It is not sufficient to be waiting like this’, ‘the mediums of vikor ullmann’, and ‘Hello Beautiful’.