Todd Davis has won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize. He teaches
creative writing, American literature, and environmental studies at
Penn State University’s Altoona College. He has authored and edit...
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"...a fine, rare poet." - Jim
Listen to a
podcast of GARRISON KEILLER reading a few Todd Davis poems on
We've been burning
grasses along the highway
today, offering the
of control, as if the moving
arms of fire could
start to clear
in the west, and as the sun
begins to rise,
it is in the west
that the light first appears.
the east, the sky
remains dark while the rain
fall, as if the earth
had changed its mind, turned
walked the other way.
First Snow, after September
Last night the wind came strong
from the north,
walnut and maple limbs back
in despair. Across the field
a crow beats
against heavy clouds.
Todd Davis writes poems that are spare yet eloquent,
with an appealing simplicity that belies their insight and
consequence. They are rooted in the firmament of nature's frequently
bruised bounty, yet grounded by our all-too-human experiences on
planet, living on a land that we so often treat with contempt or
blunder through blindly. With the eye of a naturalist and the heart-
wisdom of a sage, Davis reveals scenes of our lives that we might
have otherwise missed. His poems are like the best kind of snapshot;
they show us the details that deserve more attention, from a five-
year-old's joy in sitting on Dad’s lap and "driving" the family car
or standing on a chair to help Mom make Jell-O, to the devastation
drought on farmland or the extraordinary lushness of an ordinary
backyard. Because Davis holds up these prose-photos and urges us to
take another look, we suddenly experience their profundity and
comprehend their meaning. With disarming directness, he connects
nature to family, landscape to community, and earth to faith.
Some Heaven brings together more than 100
Davis poems. Most are concise; all are approachable. In fact, they
pull readers in, stirring our senses, tickling our memories. Here
poems about Amish gardens, changing seasons, friends at school,
tractors, and deer. Davis urges us to see—not to take a quick look,
but to really see—frost on goldenrods, the qualities of dirt, the
color of air. Underneath, of course, these are poems about universal
themes: love, loss, life, death; but in Davis's skilled hands, they
appear to us to be more akin to wild strawberries growing on a rock
wall or apples discovered in an abandoned orchard: something fresh,
unexpected, and thankfully welcomed.
"Some Heaven is a
considerable book of poems.
Many poets feel that they
know the natural world, but
Todd Davis has absorbed this
world fully into his heart
and mind. He is a fine, rare
—Jim Harrison, author
of The Shape of the
Journey: New and Collected
Poems and The Woman
Lit by Fireflies
"Some Heaven is a book rich in compassion and tenderness. The poems, through which Todd Davis limns the life and growth of his family, have a quietly penetrating power that can take the reader by surprise and delight and make him, or her, all the better for the experience. They open clear windows into the natural world and irresistibly draw us through them."
- Dan Gerber, author of Trying to Catch the Horses
146 pp., 6 " x 9 ", January