Coal is ingrained deep in Dave Doran’s DNA. Mining is a family matter, his grandfather, great-grandfather and a great-uncle, who was killed in a pit disaster at the age of 18, were miners all their working lives. A childhood spent in the shadow of the local pit wheel, and being brought up in a close-knit mining community, provided him with lifelong values.
All Mine is part memoir, part natural history, part social commentary, told through the medium of poetry: a collection of writing from boyhood to retirement. The poems take us on a journey from the coal fields of West Cumbria, through the complex underbelly of a metropolis, to the bucolic landscapes of Buckinghamshire.
All Mine has been a lifetime in the making, a series of flirtations with writing, art, and a thirty-year career policing the streets of London.
The poetic gaze moves from the Irish Sea to the River Thames, the miner’s strike of 1984 to the pandemic, and a view of the capital through the eyes of a street copper; each poem questions again the things that make a man.
There are many events which shape and fracture an identity. The writing contained in this collection reflects a life of love, loss, bewilderment and belonging. Coal haunts the bones. Ghosts darken walls of black stone, catch upon a common air, shadowing and highlighting those things that lift a life from the pit to the surface. History and chance layer each other like geological eras in this debut collection.