David Lloyd's poetry abides in a lineage of poetic modernism, often in dialogue with poets like César Vallejo, Paul Celan, and Mahmoud Darwish. The poems in The Harm Fields are rich in imagery, their language a fluent mix of registers, from colloquial idioms to technical language and literary citation, and replete with multilingual puns and portmanteaux. These poems carry forward the musical values and the questioning project of the modernist lyric, but their concerns are contemporary, haunted by the ongoing brutality of the times, from Ireland to Palestine, and reaching for a language adequate to mourning, persistence, and utopian possibility.
Steadily, unshrinkingly, David Lloyd's The Harm Fields
confronts the harsh outlines of what remains after atrocity. Tenderly, these poems sound out the dividedness of diasporic being. Historic wounds, here debrided, are opened to air, water and lapidary attention.
—Sarah Hayden, author of Curious Disciplines: Mina Loy and Avant-Garde Artisthood
For decades now, David Lloyd has been quietly crafting exquisitely chiseled poems that reveal 'the grain of the stone': a lapidary weave of dense internal rhymes; an obdurate and unflinching critical thought; a poetic sensibility that understands why Basil Bunting demanded a chisel to write. The resulting poems-lithographies of the political imagination-weight bodies to particular places and voices to particular bodies. Every tone is telling.
—Craig Dworkin, author of Radium of the Word: A Poetics of Materiality
Over the past four decades, David Lloyd's poetry has garnered many admirers-readers drawn to its formal innovation, its wit and intelligence, and its controlled yet deeply committed political engagements. . . . The sheer inventiveness of this now considerable oeuvre-one that is disorientating and exhilarating in equal measure-has few analogues in recent Irish poetry.
—Alex Davis, author of Origins of Modern Irish Poetry, 1880-1922
First comes a kind of prelude, a prose consideration of language, identity, belonging, history, that grows up and out from local Irish and European origins. Then comes the cold, clear note of the poetry, and there is no point at which this isn't poetry. Once launched, it never hesitates, to explain itself or to doubt its own adequacy, it just moves. Material images dominate the verse, but their gravity is lightened by a play of relations made possible by an exactitude of sound, image, and echo that 'sing / out from the nought rim spelling / with numbers'. This play of relations joins a complex and intimate colloquy of Darwish and Celan, Fred Moten and Wu Tsang, inviting us to come close and listen. 'A sheer / wind sings in the breach'. There is a deep comfort in a language so inhabited, but it is not an easy one.
—Trevor Joyce, authos of Courts of Air and Earth
People will say it is difficult but it has a true, necessary difficulty. There is, I think, an overall sense of loss, disappearance, absence. But what really strikes me is a certain kind of consciousness or being which negotiates the physical and the human equally. Someone said of Merleau, I think, that he found ways of expressing the human in physical terms, but here the reverse is true too. So, yes, lyric, I think, but not as it is usually construed.
—Geoffrey Squires, author of Poem at the turn of the year