Jon Davis

Poems, Stories, Essays, Screenplays



Jon Davis

Jon Davis is the author of six chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections—Dangerous Amusements, Scrimmage of Appetite, Preliminary Report, Heteronymy: An Anthology, Improbable Creatures, An Amiable Reception for the Acrobat, and Above the Bejeweled City, forthcoming from Grid Books in September, 2021. Davis also co-translated Iraqi poet Naseer Hassan’s Dayplaces (Tebot Bach, 2017). He has received a Lannan Literary Award, the Peter I.B. Lavan Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Off the Grid Poetry Prize, and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. He taught for 23 years at the Institute of American Indian Arts before founding, in 2013, the IAIA low residency MFA in Creative Writing, which he directed until his retirement in 2018. Since retiring, he has been editing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Email for details.




Fiction Editing

I am providing comprehensive fiction critiques. Click "Contact" for details and pricing.

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Poetry Editing

I am providing poetry critiques, instruction, and manuscript consultations. Click "Contact" for details and pricing.

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Poetry doesn’t explain the world; it rescues the world from explanation.

--Chuck Calabreze

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From Grid Books, September 2021

Above the Bejeweled City

In Above the Bejeweled City, Jon Davis’ seventh book of poetry, Davis exhibits the range and mastery that is the result of fifty years of study, teaching, and practice. The book opens and closes with homages to Federico Garcia Lorca’s dream-struck ballad “Romance Sonámbulo.” In between, he inhabits what the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty calls the “inexplicable existence” that marks our passage here on Earth. Part absurdist, part satirist, part tender correspondent, Davis writes in the slipstream of writers like Joyce, Beckett, Parra, and Plath. In an age that calls out for hopeful verse, Above the Bejeweled City offers, instead, a treatise on defeat and despair—and on how letting go is a way of holding on.

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An Amiable Reception for the Acrobat

September 23, 2019

In Acrobat, Jon Davis, poet of jazz, blues, and misery, of daughters and horses, of regret, asks the questions we’ve been avoiding. What if we were wrong about art’s humanitarian potential? What if all this time we should have been feeling instead of naming? What do we do with the dawning realization that the apocalypse, by comparison, turns out to be the easier choice? This is the work of a great, and largely unsung American poet at his most relentless, at his most and least wise; it is a map to hold in our hands as we fly off the end of the world. 

                                -Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek, Finding                                          Hope In The High Country


Upcoming Events

  • Chatter Sunday at Las Puertas
    Sun, Sep 12
    Chatter at Las Puertas
    Sep 12, 2021, 10:30 AM
    Chatter at Las Puertas, 1512 1st St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA
    Poetry Reading from Above the Bejeweled City (Grid Books). For tickets:
  • Chatter (in)SITE Poetry Reading
    Sat, Sep 11
    Chatter at SITE Santa Fe
    Sep 11, 2021, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM MDT
    Chatter at SITE Santa Fe, 1606 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
    A poetry reading and an informal book launch for Above the Bejeweled City (Grid Books). For tickets:
  • Above the Bejeweled City online reading for Hugo House
    Time is TBD
    TBD Sponsored by Hugo House
    Time is TBD
    TBD Sponsored by Hugo House
    I'll be reading online and celebrating the publication of Above the Bejeweled City. Details forthcoming.