Published: 28/10/2014
ISBN: 9781783065127
eISBN: 9781784628765
Format: Paperback/eBook



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David Hamilton is a professional writer who travels round England visiting towns, country and cities where he talks to local people to find unusual local places to visit and photograph. "That is ... read more

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King Alfred's Jewel
Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography
by David Hamilton

David Hamilton brings together two poems and a dramatic monologue in King Alfred’s Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography. This contemporary, original poetry is inspired by the stories behind outlaw legends, and also takes the reader on a number of spiritual journies.

Hamilton’s first poem, The Journey, remains almost as it was first written. In striving to keep his writing spontaneous, he chose not to over-develop the form of his writing.

King Alfred’s Jewel is the title poem and draws its inspiration from The Dark Night of the Soul by Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross. Using a journey to find the king’s jewel as a guiding theme, the poem is a metaphor for the depression many people feel today and mistakenly try to substitute with unhealthy pasttimes.

The dramatic monologue, Wolfshead, which comes at the end of the book, is an imaginative tale of outlaw legends. A 'wolfshead' was a resort of outlaws who formed a community, and this particular story is set in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood presiding. Using two chorus figures to link proceedings and set the scene, this wolfshead is a ghostly gathering who return to tell their legendary stories…

This unique book will make an excellent addition to the collection of any poetry and photography fans. It is also a fascinating read for anyone studying literature or theatre.

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King Alfred's Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Poetry (Troubador) is David Hamilton's first book of poetry and photography but there are more planned. poetry has been neglected by the popular critics and booksellers but there is a groundswell of eager readers turning to it again.
Mr. Hamilton has two books of essays published. Culture Wars: To Discipline the Devil's Regions (Createspace)is criticism of art, architecture and drama. Some Literary Essays: Comments and Insights (Booklocker)is as the title suggests a collection of essays on literary subjects reviewing fairly George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, ideological playwrights, Middlemarch and reality, how Shakespeare created depth of meaning and some interesting literary genres like Verse satire and the work of Metaphysicals and Cavaliers.

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Female First

This book of poetry is fascinating. It blends traditional subjects with contemporary relevance. The two poems are journey. The longer one is King Alfred's Jewel and covers from the inside the famous Dark Night of the Soul as described by St. John of the cross who Dali painted on a cross soaring above the earth. It suggests that there can be a spiritual and beneficial end to depression and distinguishes that from a dark Night which is very spiritua albeit unpleasant as it leads to a greater spiritual understanding.

There is, unusually, a Dramatic monologue where deceased outlaws come back on may eve to Sherwood Forest to tell their stories to a gathered audience with Robin Hood officiating and two chorus figures father Time and Jack O Green linking events. What interested me is the distinction made between the legends and the real life stories of the outlaws.

by Dawn Morris


As someone who is not a great reader of poetry, too many memories of difficult language at school, I was unsure about David Hamilton's offering 'King Alfred's Jewel'. But, there was no difficulty for me here. The lanuage was simple, yet effective, making the poetry easy to read and easy to enjoy. You will get swept up in the journey that feels like it is being read to you, it is so effortless. A must read for any poetry and photography fan.

by Gemma


King Alfred’s Jewel, at least in the first poem, is a train of consciousness type of poem that I found incredibly moving and involving. But all of the poems, despite being based around outlaw legend, have that metaphoric feel to them that can be associated with our own journeys and struggles throughout our lives. The language used is both simplistic and simultaneously beautiful in description and verse. A short but terribly moving book that I for one will be going back and reading again.

by Rosey


I received a complimentary copy of this novel for an honest review from the publisher.

If you like poetry, this is for you. If you like photography, this is for you. I found the poetry simply lovely, with flowing, smooth verses. I could easily picture in my mind a scene, playing out quite like a movie. All in all, I enjoyed it, it's a short read, but not short on content, if that makes sense.

Well done. Easily a four star read for me.

by Caitlin Tull


For me poetry always seemed like something that other people were in to but not something that was accessible to me. A friend of mine had read King Alfred’s Jewel and was pretty insistent I should as well so eventually I relented and bought a copy. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It was easy to get into and easy to understand. The photography provides a nice counterpoint and I found myself quite wrapped up in the verse. I’d even go as far as to say I might even go on to read more poetry, but I’ll definitely read more by David Hamilton.

by Lynne


King Alfred’s Jewel, at least in the first poem, is a train of consciousness type of poem that I found incredibly moving and involving. But all of the poems, despite being based around outlaw legend, have that metaphoric feel to them that can be associated with our own journeys and struggles throughout our lives. The language used is both simplistic and simultaneously beautiful in description and verse. A short but terribly moving book that I for one will be going back and reading again.

by D Anders


As someone who is not a great reader of poetry, too many memories of difficult language at school, I was unsure about David Hamilton's offering 'King Alfred's Jewel'. But, there was no difficulty for me here. The lanuage was simple, yet effective, making the poetry easy to read and easy to enjoy. You will get swept up in the journey that feels like it is being read to you, it is so effortless. A must read for any poetry and photography fan.

by Eric Johnson


For me poetry always seemed like something that other people were in to but not something that was accessible to me. A friend of mine had read King Alfred’s Jewel and was pretty insistent I should as well so eventually I relented and bought a copy. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It was easy to get into and easy to understand. The photography provides a nice counterpoint and I found myself quite wrapped up in the verse. I’d even go as far as to say I might even go on to read more poetry, but I’ll definitely read more by David Hamilton.

by J A Fortier


The poetry genre as a whole holds many avenues for display and understanding, a very long history of controversy, and much debate over its wellsprings of inspiration in psychology, literary influence, and social evolution. All this is covered in depth in an introduction which basically takes the genre's history and synthesizes its influences in a literary examination of poetry's evolution and philosophical influences.

It's unusual to see this kind of introduction in a collection anticipated to be free verse explorations of self; but then, this kind of opening should offer the idea that King Alfred's Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography will be anything but your usual gathering of personal insights, offering something both extraordinary and a cut above the ordinary - and in this, it does not disappoint.

King Alfred's Jewel is actually two long epic poems that sweep through themes of a journey undertaken and a jewel unearthed because of it. The book consists of two narrative poems and a dramatic monologue. The poems deal with depression and the Dark Night of the Soul, while the dramatic monologue presents deceased outlaws coming back to tell their stories on a May evening in Sherwood Forest. The title poem uses the imagery of journey and jewel as its shining light as it probes essences of spirituality and psychology, examining the sources of modern angst and depression and considering the stormy road to spiritual and emotional redemption.

There are dragons and inheritances, outlaw legends and metaphors that connect past to present, and streams of consciousness impressions. In choosing these particular formats and weaving a cloak of inspection, history and psychological depth, King Alfred's Jewel is actually much more accessible - despite its lengthy presentations - than one would expect, making it a recommendation for readers who might normally consider the poetic form too constrained, too regulated, and too inaccessible.

King Alfred's Jewel is a delight on many levels. Add black and white photos throughout and a selection of color photos by the author, which act as both illustration and interlude to the written word, and you have a collection that stands out in the genre: something firmly rooted in literary, historical, spiritual and psychological traditions, but most definitely more than the sum of its parts.

by DiDonovan


From the moment I started reading, this book reminded me of college, in general, and writing papers for my various literature courses in general. That being said, I mostly still loved it. The poems, though stylistically similar to those of the distant past, are written in modern language. They are sophisticated and speak to the soul and the senses. There's a scholarly introduction and an appendix at the end wherein the author wraps his process. For poetry lovers, this will delight.

by Nicole Moore


 

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