Todd Davis, winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, teaches creative writing, environmental studies, and American literature at Penn State University’s Altoona College. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in such journals and magazines as "Shenandoah", "The North American Review", "Iowa Review", "Indiana Review", "Gettysburg Review", "The Christian Science Monitor", "5 AM", "West Branch", "River Styx", "Arts & Letters", "Quarterly West", "Green Mountains Review", "Poetry East", "Orion", "Epoch", "Rattle", "Nebraska Review", "and Image." He is the author of three books of poetry - "The Least of These" (Michigan State University Press, 2010), "Some Heaven" (Michigan State University Press, 2007) and "Ripe" (Bottom Dog Press, 2002) - one chapbook, "Household of Water, Moon, and Snow: The Thoreau Poems" (Seven Kitchens Press, 2010), and co-editor of the anthology, "Making Poems: 40 Poems with Commentary by the Poets" (State University of New York Press, 2010). His poems have been featured on the radio by Garrison Keillor on "The Writer’s Almanac" and by Marion Roach on "The Naturalist’s Datebook," as well as by Ted Kooser in his syndicated newspaper column "American Life in Poetry." In addition to his creative work, Davis is the author or editor of six scholarly books, including "Kurt Vonnegut’s Crusade, or How a Postmodern Harlequin Preached a New Kind of Humanism" (State University of New York Press, 2006) and "Mapping the Ethical Turn: A Reader in Ethics, Culture, and Literary Theory" (University Press of Virginia, 2001).
Available for poetry readings and workshops.
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 poet.
- Jim Harrison, author of The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems and The Woman Lit By Fireflies
When Todd Davis walks through a field, he notices not only what’s under his feet but what’s on the wider horizon. In his remarkable second collection of poetry, Davis sings of the flight of the owl, the blossoms of the wild geranium, the curl of his son’s hair. He also embraces the space we’ve traveled “beneath the crust of the earth,” the deeper resonances that abide within as we peer toward the heavens.
- Mary Swander, author of Heaven-and-Earth House and The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles
In Some Heaven’s title poem, Todd Davis imagines “a warm October day that need never end,” and asks, “What more should heaven be?” But the operative word here is should, and his remains a precarious balance between faith in Whitman’s “primal sanities” and the knowledge that the sky “holds no answers.” This fine book’s undersong is a fusion of faith and muted longing that evokes the deepest feelings in us. In the end, Davis earns what comes to be the entire last section of his memorable “Prairie Liturgy”: “Amen.”
- William Heyen, author of Shoah Train, 2004 National Book Award Finalist
As a poet matures, if things are going well, he becomes progressively unhinged in the best way: daring more intuitive conjunctions of image and idea, re-associating the sensibility of our stunned and over-thought world. It’s a joy to see Todd Davis growing into this limnal space. The best poems here bring back a word from the prophetic edge.
- Mary Rose O’Reilley, author of The Love of Impermanent Things and Half Wild, Winner of the Walt Whitman Award
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 and A Last Bridge Home
Todd Davis writes poems of passion and compassion about every living thing. The body, sensuality, and the divine share a loving residence in these poems that see and say all things holy. Rarely has gentleness felt so forceful or images been so deftly allied on the page. This book is a hymnal for anyone who loves nature and hungers for its surprising presence in heart and mind.
- Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Genius Loci and Science and Other Poems, Winner of the Walt Whitman Award
I love the integrity, sincerity, and wisdom of Todd Davis’s poems. He is unafraid to write out of a deep faith—both religious faith and faith in the natural world. In a poetic landscape that often seems biased toward the cynical and clever, Davis’s poems unapologetically strive for the mountaintop. They make clear that the natural world still has a few things to teach us, or remind us of things we once knew but have forgotten. They sing with imagistic intensity, and their hard-hitting rhythms accentuate the world’s natural pulse. The restraint and humility of these poems belies their underlying passion and commitment. They are pure and sharp, so sharp they cut.
- Jim Daniels, author of Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies and Show and Tell, Winner of the Brittingham Prize