The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk
captures the precariousness and fragility of life while reminding us of its tenacity and force – “so strong are the anchors”. Davis accomplishes this through palpable physicality: the body, its members, the landscape, its geology. The poems are personal and deeply affecting, always curious and outward looking, even when negotiating a fraught life of the mind and a very real struggle with disability. Strong company as we pick our own way across the rocks.
A personal quest to re-learn how to walk through cherished, northern landscapes introduces a gifted new voice. Gathering fragments from memory, myth, archaeology and geology, Kate Davis’s debut is a nimble exploration of what it means not only to exist, but to persist.
Jake Morris-Campbell, The Poetry School
This playful collection from Kate Davis is full of innocence and wisdom and wonder. The title sequence tells the story of a young girl with polio and her attempts to find ‘the footpaths of herself’ - but the whole of the book is open to the joys and complexities of landscape and the body. Poignant details - the smell of nettles, a woman reaching for a handrail in Debenhams - add weight to larger concerns - bodily autonomy, the science of sinkholes. A sparkling debut.
National Poetry Library
Very much enjoyed reading Kate Davis's The Girl Who Forgets to Walk today
: a woozy, vivid sequence of poems about polio that somehow manages to avoid ever naming the disease.
Tristram Fane Saunders
This is a remarkably self-assured debut by a poet who knows what she wishes to achieve and accomplishes her aims, both in terms of theme and form. The title is taken from the book’s long central section, which follows the experiences of a young girl who contracts polio, a subject that Davis treats with a mixture of scientific knowledge, emotional poignancy and the beauty of art applied to unexpected subjects.
Adele Ward, London Grip