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Hilary Davies (born 1954)[1] is an English poet, critic and translator.[2]

Davies was born in London to Anglo-Welsh parents,[3] and was educated at Bromley High School and Wadham College, Oxford, where she was among the first intake of women students, graduating in French and German in 1974.[4] She was married to the poet Sebastian Barker (1945-2014).[5]

Davies won an Eric Gregory Award in 1983,[6] and was chairman of the Poetry Society in 1992-93.[2] She taught for 30 years at St Paul's Girls' School, being head of modern languages for 19 years, until taking early retirement in 2011 to spend more time on her poetry.[4] In 2012-2016 she held a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at King's College London.[2]



  • "The Ophthalmologist" (1987)
  • The Shanghai Owner of the Bonsai Shop (1991, Enitharmon; ISBN 9781870612562)
  • In a Valley of This Restless Mind (1997, Enitharmon; ISBN 9781870612975)
  • Imperium (2005, Enitharmon; ISBN 9781900564199)
  • Exile and the Kingdom (2016, Enitharmon; ISBN 9781910392171)

Reception of worksEdit

The Times Literary Supplement in a review of Davies' poem "The Ophthalmologist" writes "we might read this whole piece as an extended metaphor for the agony and ecstasy intrinsic to every creative act."[7] A Contemporary Poetry Review review of New British Poetry discussing poet omissions from the collection writes "I, for one, particularly regret the neglect of the underrated Hilary Davies, whose first book, The Shanghai Owner of the Bonsai Shop ... contains some of the most luminous and quietly compelling poems you’ll come across on either side of the Atlantic."[8] In a Valley of This Restless Mind has been called "a collection of high seriousness" and compared to the poetry of Elizabeth Jennings.[9]


  1. ^ Görtschacher, Wolfgang (1993). Little Magazine Profiles: The Little Magazines in Great Britain, 1939-1993. University of Salzburg. p. 424. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Hilary Davies". Fellows. Royal Literary Fund. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Hilary Davies". Enitharmon. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Language and lyrics- alumni profile". Wadham College. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  5. ^ Glover, Michael (18 February 2014). "Sebastian Barker: Poet born into a literary dynasty whose own distinctive voice was inspired by a sense of place (obituary)". The Independent. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Past winners of the Eric Gregory Awards". Society of Authors. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  7. ^ James Crews (26 June 2012). ""The Ophthalmologist"". The Times Literary Supplement. News UK. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  8. ^ John Drexel (3 March 2006). "Terra Incognita, or British Poetry in America". Contemporary Poetry Review. CPR.
  9. ^ John Greening (1997). "Psychic Reality". PN Review. PN Review 118. 24 (2). Retrieved 3 November 2016.

External linksEdit