Under Photon Crowns, Selected Writings of Dai Fry is the first individual chapbook collection published by Black Bough Poetry and is an incredible kaleidoscope of journeys, bright black waves of twisting movements that take us far beyond the glories of ‘Majorelle skies’ and down deep into the ‘wild-green waters’ to ‘the breath of the Kracken’ with the understanding of how all things are connected and yet, equally, as displayed in the opening poem, how we are held like single stars burning in solitude; ‘tears cried alone… in quiet rooms… of a wondrous infinity.’
I have long been a fan of Swansea-born poet Dai Fry since discovering him on Black Bough Poetry’s weekly #TopTweetTuesday, who incredibly only began writing a few years ago and yet, to see his delicately carved poems come together here is quite magical. I say delicately carved but they are not of a delicate nature, they are big, bold, bright adventures which stretch far beyond our tiny claims to this little spec we call home, for a time, within the Universe.
Dai writes with a seer’s knowledge as if he himself had walked this earth and stepped underland to seek out echoes of the ‘dark imaginations’ of Neolithic warriors and hear their dreams and disasters, as if it were possible to be a neutrino and yet understand the essence of everything ‘its presence as absence revealed’, as if he had been beyond the Rapture and time travelled back again with his visions which bring us to the beautiful balance of this book of two parts; the opening section of poetry and the closing section of prose.
The poetry transports us up and out, with all the knowledge Fry has acquired, as if he had swallowed all the stars, all the planets, all the photons hurtling through space and then the prose brings us back to the beginnings of all things; Fry’s youth in Tycoch, in Wales and its tissue-wrapped Angels, bottles of sleep setting ‘Oblivion’, duffel-coated interstellar spaceship troopers and a box of fireworks where he possibly first began to reach out and touch the magic of a star he was able to light himself. This entire prose section is, as Dai himself says, when waking to a dreamy snow-covered morning… ‘a magic Kingdom unspoiled and pure as things always are in the beginning.’
This chapbook of both the extraordinary and the elemental is perfectly woven together with a series of illustrations from French astronomical artist Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, deepening that sense of infinity with eclipses of the sun, the moon and the shimmers of the Milky Way.
Dai says, in the brief introduction, that ‘I am at heart a chaos poet, I seek the underlying pattern…’ and that is indeed what this collection of selected writing achieves; stretching out as far as possible in order to bring it all back in, back home, back down to the pen and the page.
And here we have the impossibility of infinity captured beautifully. Out there, in the universe, the light is dark but here, in the poetry of Dai Fry, the sound is sensational.
You can find Dai Fry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/thnargg
You can find more about Dai’s collection, links to buying it on Amazon and all about Black Bough Poetry here…