In her fourth collection, Exile and the Kingdom, Hilary Davies embarks on pilgrimage – poetic, religious, psychological. Using a dazzling interplay of narrative and lyric line, she travels through real and imagined territory in search of answers to the great questions which preoccupy us as human beings. In ‘Rhine Fugue’ the poet follows the river that both unites and divides Europe, conjuring an impressive sweep of history that includes the Wars of Religion, the Jewish tradition, the upheavals of the twentieth century, the hope for peace. Two lyric sequences evoke the spirit of the Lea Valley in London, where Hilary Davies lives, and the spirit of her late husband, the poet Sebastian Barker, while ‘Across Country’ and ‘Exile and the Kingdom’ chart the journey of the individual soul through darkness and confusion to a hard-won and complex faith.
‘Hilary Davies […] is writing joy. While this collection ranges widely, imaginatively, with fierce intelligence, it is the quietly powerful love poems that remain when the journey is over.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Hilary Davies’s new book, her fourth, is a meditative journey through time and place […] for those with the appetite to enter deeply into a series of musical, profound and at times darkly disturbing meditations, this will be an increasingly rewarding book, one that will reveal new depths at each reading.’ PN Review
‘We have been brought on a journey that moves from the local to the universal, touches personal grief and moves into the cosmic sense of beginnings, ongoings and end. It is a remarkable journey, each poem defining a step forward, accepting the hiatus of the personal grief, and praying at last, “God grant us a quiet night and a perfect end”.’ Temenos Academy Review