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Weightless Road is Vincent De Souza’s much anticipated first collection of poems – several of which have won awards in high profile poetry competitions, including fourth place in the London Writers Competition 2003 judged by the Bloodaxe poets Moniza Alvi and Jo Shapcott with the poem Breathing Defect.
This collection charts the growth of Vincent’s style – from early days when he was reading American writers like Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs and welcoming their influence on his poems. Earlier on his favoured subjects included motorcycles and road movie journeys, childhood trauma and snapshots of life often written with the detail of a photo image. Poems like Existence of Paint, Equal Rights Talk, the Lost Biker and the title piece, Weightless Road, carry the reader into the riding thrills of the motorcycle journeyman – you can smell the engine oil, feel the heat of the crankcase and the voice is a raw, clear one, of a writer surfing acceleration, aiming for a destination tantalisingly out of sight.
Over time his style branches out as his study of painters like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí see him take more risks with the language and methods of the poems. Vincent’s eye is a camera ready to allow any subject to emerge centre stage in a poem. From the brutality of macho loveless sex in Bloodstains to the anarchic urban violence and vandalism in Kicking Cars. Places and people in the poems are real and unedited, yet the language and imagery raise them into symbols of something bigger, a deeper truth. Cityscapes and the urban face of London are backdrops to the energy in many poems and Vincent’s love of rock music surfaces in the Nirvana tribute of Shooting on a Moment and the Jimi Hendrix portrait of Home is Fire.
If poems were home entertainment, Vincent’s are adrenalin-fuelled Play Station games, if poems were musical instruments, Vincent’s are a Stratocaster electric guitar and if poems were cries from the human soul, Vincent’s are a rebel yell.
‘On a first reading of de Souza’s exciting new collection I was swept away by sensation – sex, violence, crime and death are all rendered in gutsy language that doesn't have much time for musing or digression. These poems are hot-wired into the bloody almost pagan instincts beneath our civilized skin. But there is tenderness here too, in his examination of our physical and emotional frailties, coupled with a quest to move through the body into spirit and vision. Thrill-seeking and thoughtful: a difficult combination to pull off, but one that de Souza does, like his speeding motorcyclist, in style.’ —Esther Morgan
‘Vincent de Souza’s Weightless Road has been a long time coming but it is worth its wait in gold, for this book is marvellously written, beautifully wrought and scrupulously chosen; and in poems such as ‘Place of Forgiveness Somewhere in a Child’ and 'Tears Return in Blue' the poet achieves a tone which is as heart-rendingly perceptive as it is consoling and redemptive.’ —David Morley
‘Weightless Road is a well-chosen collection of extraordinary, award-winning poems––gutsy and relevant. Vincent De Souza’s influences go back to the beat generation, to Burroughs and Kerouac, and you’ll be glad they do. He speaks with confidence of biker life on the road and love and loss in a sometimes-raw voice and measured tone that mesmerizes. He speaks of death and breaks your heart––you’ll end up wanting to see everything through his eyes’ —BSCReview