Walk Song

David Herd


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Shearsman Books
14 June 2022
ISBN: 9781848618428
92 pages

From the publisher

Written between 2015 and 2020, the poems of Walk Song build through a series of sequences which look to animate solidarities and the languages of rights. Taking their bearings from the Refugee Tales project, and always grounded in the collective walk, these are poems of friendship and movement, of landscape and politics, of action and hope. Addressing the environments we have made, the border and its hostilities, Walk Song sets out to picture settings in which the language might be opened, step by step.

"David Herd opens his stunning new book by telling us that “it is an act of welcome.” Walk Song is a most welcome addition to what we might call an advanced lyricism. A complex human song that touches all of us. The formal achievement of the line is everywhere manifest in this work. With grace and daring, Herd has written a gorgeous and generous and necessary book." —Peter Gizzi

"Walk Song combines manifesto, mantra, lyric poem in a mode of address that ranges from militant to tender to transcendent. Herd positions himself between polis and poetics to call for ‘a whole new language of welcome’, a renewal that embraces inclusion, commits to openness of borders, a language (like the poem) that is rooted in the Declaration of Human Rights: ‘welcoming’, ‘celebratory’, ‘courteous’, ‘real’. The syntax is organized by breath, fusing intention, intimacy and urgency. Walk Song is generous, tender, affirming work." —Nancy Gaffield

"The vocabulary of David Herd’s ongoing project is elemental, the line breaks test the ground as they go.The mode appears at first to be the personal lyric, where the self reaches out for relation.Yet, by such a return to first principles, by letting the sentence search both in its past and beyond history for the possibility of welcome, the poems open up a visionary space that feels utterly new and uncynical: where language is land is transcendent logic, where collective being and a poetry of humbled alliance might be drafted, where we might once again 'stand before [and against] the law / In the entirety of what [we know]'." —Vivek Narayanan