The Trick

Patrick Davidson Roberts


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Broken Sleep Books
30 June 2022
38 pages

From the publisher

Patrick Davidson Roberts presents a world of illusion in The Trick, a book of masterful deception and creation. Starting from the mysterious act of covering something in smoke to hide or cleanse it, the title poem sets the tone for a collection filled with spells, trails, and twists. Whether exploring the power dynamics behind trickery, devising new escapes and personae, or exploring the accusations of misrepresentation or concealment levelled at both genderqueer and bisexual individuals, The Trick is a thought-provoking and captivating read.

PRAISE for The Trick:

There is a twist in Patrick Davidson Roberts’ lines, between the compelling and compulsive voices, the grace of rhyme, the stubbed ends of stories, the bars and the stars. The twist is poetry.
— Alison Brackenbury

In beautifully-managed long lines across sixteen poems, Patrick Davidson Roberts has given us a picture of hell: local, personal, vividly and violently realised. You can open these poems up and walk about in them, with a growing, unnerving sense that they’re places you’ve visited beforehand, between sleep and waking.
— John Clegg

Patrick Davidson Roberts gives us powerful, moving narratives of modern masculinity and strong whisky, double-crossing and cross-dressing. Smoking is a smokescreen to cover the scent of an affair; a boy ‘tries on four masks in twelve seconds.’ Pain – the ‘white smile’ of a scar – is balanced with wry and tender humour. These poems are subtle tricksters: just when you think you’ve stripped off every layer, another is revealed. Pick up The Trick and prepare to be beguiled.
— Yvonne Reddick

These are poems as ‘below-table-communication’, attuned to the rhythms of the vernacular, to the tricks played in what’s said and what remains unspoken, thinking ‘night thoughts’. There is a constant layering at play, in language – spotting the lyre in the liar – and in the art of covering up, which as often as not proves a means to mask further diversion. This is writing rich in nuance, voiced by narrators who have taken enough, but who bear their scars as proof of ‘the healing of time’.  
— Declan Ryan