Poems, Stories, Essays, Screenplays
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Poetry doesn’t explain the world; it rescues the world from explanation.
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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.
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