The Bright Tethers: Poems 1988–2016
Four decades of poem-writing have gone into the making of The Bright Tethers. This is the best of Cameron, whose achievement is steadily gaining recognition (his poem ‘Night Singing’ is read in Irish schools; in 2014 he received the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry).
David writes only about what springs at the throat. His themes may be the big ones of love and death, but the details are those of ordinary life: an awkward dance to ‘Green Onions’ in a parochial hall that leaves his younger self – and seemingly the universe – ‘at the mercy of my crush’; a desire, after his father’s death, to keep everything in the house exactly as it was, prompting the declaration:
I am in love
With Armitage Shanks.
And there is development here, with the poems growing in lucidity over the decades.
The earliest influences have been the deepest: Donne, Blake and Hardy; Edward Thomas, the early Eliot, Rosenberg, Graves and Riding.
Some of the book’s poems were published in periodicals and anthologies, but mostly they have circulated among fellow poets. One of these, Seamus Heaney, has written appreciatively of the poetry’s ‘strangeness and credibility’.
“This is the book I have been writing all my life, and that all my life has been writing … In time I learned about poetry as a craft, as (arguably) an art form. But it was the involuntary, electrifying experience of writing those first poems that stayed with me as guide. It’s the unlooked-for poem that I trust.”
from Author’s Note
David Cameron’s The Bright Tethers confirms him as one of the most insightful and thought-provoking poets around.Ron Butlin, Sunday Herald Books of the Year (2016)
Thoughtful, tentative, musical, human in scale: these are poems which deserve to last.D.A. Prince, London Grip
Here is a man blessed with being nourished by the familial, from which poems arise as part of his nature – sensitive, private, profound, and connected … Just as a strong show of paintings makes us see everything through the artist’s eyes for a while afterwards, so this collection compels us to witness our own lives as a series of poems, spoken silently in this poet’s voice.Marnie Pomeroy
David Cameron is not your usual, institutionalised poet. He’s made his way in the real world and written his poems on the side of his everyday life. The people that populate Cameron’s poems are often strangers, and there are some good lines on the absences that haunt all our lives. Cameron also demonstrates a sophisticated use of rhyme, a technique many poets, oddly, have forgotten about.Nick Major, The Herald
David’s lyric ‘Black-eyed Susan’ was recorded by Morton Valence’s Anne Gilpin and Robert ‘Hacker’ Jesset (who set the lyric to music), in their one-off project Black Angel Drifter.