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Dave Knight



Contact me to talk about poetry or photography at

david.joshua.knight@gmail.com

Enquiries from agents and publishers are also welcome.

Biography

I have lived all my life in the Midlands or the North of England, travelling only once each to Ireland and to America. Only since I began researching locations for my Arthurian stories have I explored the British Isles in earnest; in 2008 I scoured them from Cornwall to the Orkneys, with two trips to Anglesey. I am and will almost certainly remain most attracted to the wild and waste lands which have changed little in thousands of years.

Writing was not a first choice for me. Long ago I gained a degree in Physics, then a masters degree in Control Systems. Brought up in the Methodist church, I escaped at 13, passed the Physics degree as an atheist, then became a born again believer during my master's degree. I am fond of pointing out I knew my hard science before I believed. I maintain the foundation of my attitude to faith lies in an experimental physics laboratory.

This is not the usual path to becoming a poet, or a photographer. But I believe a poet needs only two things; something to write about and enough reason to practice.

'Something to write about' has been supplied by a life including marriage, fatherhood and divorce, caring passionately about more things than is good for me, whilst living out faith with the same conviction I have regarding Ohm's law.

'Reason to practice' came in the form of an online romance, now over. Poetry was an excellent way to make one woman's difficult days more tolerable. So I persevered with beginnings in haiku and tanka before learning to use traditional English forms.

In this process I was enormously assisted by my editor, Sarah McEvoy, who has one of the finest minds and the most helpful attitudes of anyone I have ever met. Her technical advice and the need to entertain my online love enabled me to to write an entirely original Arthurian Fairy story in verse; 'Aurorielle', now available on Amazon and through lulu.com.

Meanwhile a large collection of other poetry built up. The first fruits of that, 'Portrait of the Artist as a Lone Tree', is also now available through lulu.com.

At present I am living the traditional life of a poet working out of a garret with no visible means of support but his poetry. I find that rather comical. To this I have added photography. I like to put the two together when opportunity allows. Whilst neither of those affords a guaranteed living, I am now sure I am doing what I really want, for the first time in my life.

Like many other decent people, I have been divorced. As I write extensively about my family in verse, I feel it is not fair to identify my family. Thus 'Dave Knight' is a pen name I use to write about such issues without causing hurt to those near me. Site policy is to neither confirm nor deny any suggested identity or to talk about the matter. I hope you will understand this is for the sake of my children.


Poetic influences

The earliest poetry I remember hearing was by A.A. Milne. I was highly entertained by 'Bad Sir Brian Botany' and the other poems my parents read to me when I was small. Later, poetry became as impenetrable to me as it is to many others, until I read 'The Lord of the Rings' at 14. I was enchanted by Bilbo's 'Earendil' poem and delighted with every other poem in the book. At 15 I wrote some truly dreadful emo to express my feelings about a truly dreadful school. Having located the only copy, I now live in fear that anyone else should see it, but I dare not quite bring myself to destroy it.

In my twenties I met Sarah McEvoy, now my editor. She had not known me long when she told me I had 'the soul of a poet'. Nearly twenty years passed before any sign of interest in poetry emerged in me. After divorce, I began writing (prose) as a hobby, writing haiku to provide a character with verse for comic purposes. I made myself write haiku about everything I could for practice. Thus I found the brain could be 'grooved' into a rhythm. Later, practice would groove my mind into any rhythm I chose - ultimately grooving the brain to rhythm itself.

Meanwhile I was impressed by the poetry of Keats, particularly 'La Belle Dame sans Merci'. I also enjoyed reading Wilfred Owen. Then my online romance with a poetry lover caused me to become more generally interested in verse. Other early favourites included Tennyson's 'The Lady of Shalott'.

More recently I studied Dylan Thomas' poetry and life. I essentially share the opinion of Douglas Hofstadter, so eloquently expressed in 'Le Ton Beau de Marot', that Thomas wrote works which are essentially meaningless. Yet I long enjoyed Jon Anderson's lyrics for 70's prog rockers 'Yes', which are just as meaningless. For some reason I dislike Thomas, but like 'Yes'. I cannot fault anyone for taking the opposite view, since my own is inconsistent.

I simply have no taste for free verse. We are all entitled to our own taste, but I have never yet written a poem in free verse that could not have been better expressed through rhythm and rhyme. I admire Shakespeare's sonnets, but cannot cope with his plays; I have also enjoyed what little of Dante I have read.

The poet I most admire is Christina Georgina Rossetti; whether my work is greatly like hers or not, you may judge for yourself. I love her poetry so much, I will not study it or even seek it; I prefer to find it by accident, like a wild flower. Thus I never know what I may find next time I see her words, making the discovery ever fresh and new.


Two life changing events

Until Christmas Day 2004, I was still labouring to produce as simple a thing as a sonnet, having not yet grasped the intricacies of stress. However whilst praying that day, I felt a sudden conviction that I was now able to write the story I longed to write, but which I lacked the technique to achieve - Aurorielle. Before the end of the morning I had written my first genuine sonnet, over a hundred lines in a form adapted from Tennyson's 'Lady of Shalott' and invented two other rhythmic forms for two of the main characters in the story to use. I am simply grateful to God. Whatever the reader may think, prior to that day I progressed only to the point of knowing what I most wanted, and why I wanted it; then knowing and wanting, I received the Christmas present no one else could have given me.

In 2005, I was shocked to discover I scored half way to being autistic. Since I have an autistic son, this was a particularly poignant moment. Soon after, I felt challenged to change my writing methods, convinced God wanted me to do so, but having no idea why. I could find very good reasons for not doing so, but did so as obedience. The result was 3000 lines of first draft poetry for 'Aurorielle' in 86 days. At the end of that time, I idly took the same test I had taken before changing my methods. I was startled to discover I now scored below average for autistic tendencies. I suspect working so intensely hard in a way formerly alien to me rewired my thinking enough to change the way I did everything else. Whether or not that makes sense to the reader, the change in me was readily apparent to my friends. Thus I consider myself uniquely healed of autism.


Site, poetry, prose and images © 2003-2017 Dave Knight. All rights reserved. The right of Dave Knight to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988