I am delighted to say that I will be publishing the innovative and creatively-crafted collection of Colin Dardis, an exciting and established poet who came to me with a collection, 'The Dogs of Humanity'. I was sold at the word 'dogs' but it turned out that the poetry itself was truly excellent, which was the cherry on top.
Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, arts coordinator and creative writing tutor based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was one of Eyewear Publishing's Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, and an ACES '15-16 recipient from Arts Council Northern Ireland. A new collection with Eyewear, the x of y, is out now.Colin also co-runs Poetry NI and is the online editor for Lagan Online. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA.
Colin speaks about his collection...
As suggested by the title, these poems are thematically linked by imagery, or direct allusion to, dogs and others animals. The first part, Dogs, uses canine imagery to explore themes of depression and weariness, how societal expectations can leave a person feeling (a runt, a mongrel, etc.). Issues of savagery and lack of humanity are also explored through this imagery. Elsewhere, animals are such as a motif to retreat into a pastoral idea, an escapism from mental health issues, finding an affinity with a nature that we must also sometimes contest.My aim, as with most of my writing, is to highlight what life is like leaving with a mental health issue, and to raise awareness and empathy with people who do so. At the same time, I am looking to share a lexicon of nature, both its light and dark side, so keenly developed by proponents such as Clare, Heaney and Hughes.
Back in 2013, I did a themed reading of dog poems. I never intended to build up a body of work using dogs as the central image, but they appeared, ready to use; it seemed to make sense to present them together. Since then, the number of poems have slowly crept upwards, some fleetingly alluded to canines to evoke a certain sense, others wholly focused on them as a singular metaphor. The idea of a small collection, bringing together all these possible convolutions, intimations and representations, was one of those moments when years of disparate work, tapped at here and there, come together to suddenly form something cohesive.
Read some of Colin's recent poetry here 'The Dogs of Humanity' is expected to be released in August 2019.