A Commonplace

A CommonplaceApples, Bricks and Other People’s Poems

Smith | Doorstop, 2020

A Commonplace is a conversation about how poetry is made and exists as the underlying geology of our lives. Jonathan Davidson’s quiet but distinctive poems – including pieces from the 17th Century, from Kyiv and Lisbon, and from Finland and Nicaragua –  are complemented by outstanding work by fourteen other poets and translators. Littered with unruly footnotes and featuring a gazetteer and bibliography, A Commonplace invites the reader to experience poetry as a lived art form.

What shines through is the openness of the venture and the sense of poetic community and involvement of different voices and poetics in a constant communion.” – Sasha Dugdale


“Poems – my own and other people’s – are scattered across my life. They are in books and notebooks, folded in wallets and hidden in desk drawers; a few are memorised. They are as commonplace as food and drink. I wouldn’t want to live without them, although I dare say I could. They will be the last things I forget when I have forgotten everything else. Some of these poems are gathered together in this book, A Commonplace.

A Commonplace is a collection of my own poems interleaved with other people’s poems, poems I admire and that give solace or inspiration. As there are things I want to say about my own poems, and about those by other poets, I have included an on-going commentary. This isn’t something I’ve done before, but it has made me think about how poetry is released into the world.”

Cover Painting: The Industrial Henge (2013) by Anna Dillon

The Everyday Reader

“And while I’m at it, I ask you to take these poems and use them. By which I mean, share them in private correspondence, speak them in your own accent, compose your own – better – versions of them. And if you want to record them as audio files then please do and please send them to me and I’ll see if they can’t be shared further. The sharing’s the thing.”

The Everyday Reader gathers together audio recordings of some of the poems from A Commonplace made by friends and neighbours. Jonathan has written about the idea behind these recordings on his blog.

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