In the Kingdom of the Ditch cover
In the Kingdom of the Ditch
In poetry that is at once accessible and finely crafted, Todd Davis maps the mysterious arc between birth and death, celebrating the beauty and pain of our varied entrances and exits, while taking his readers into the deep forests and waterways of the northeastern United States. With an acute sensibility for language unlike any other working poet, Davis captures the smallest nuances in the flowers, trees, and animals he encounters through a daily life spent in the field. Davis draws upon stories and myths from Christian, Transcendental, and Buddhist traditions to explore the intricacies of the spiritual and physical world we too often overlook. In celebrating the abundant life he finds in a ditch—replete with Queen Anne’s lace and milkweed, raspberries and blackberries, goldenrod and daisies—Davis suggests that life is consistently transformed, resurrected by what grows out of the fecundity of our dying bodies. In his fourth collection the poet, praised by The Bloomsbury Review, Arts & Letters, and many others, provides not only a taxonomy of the flora and fauna of his native Pennsylvania but also a new way of speaking about the sacred walk we make with those we love toward the ultimate mystery of death.
Subjects: Poetry
Publication Date: June 1st, 2013
112 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Bios
Todd Davis is the author of five full-length collections of poetry. He teaches environmental studies, creative writing, and American literature at Pennsylvania State University's Altoona College.

Early Praise

“Nouns and verbs have dreams and shadows, as well as their own irreducible essence, and they spill here from the hands of a master. These poems are constructed of a hard and durable majesty that possesses the deepest and most notable sentiments while slipping free always of the damning residue of sentimentality. To say that there is wisdom and beauty in these poems is like saying that fire is hot or that food, or love, is good. On every page, In the Kingdom of the Ditch reminds us that life amazes.”
Rick Bass, author of The Lives of Rocks and The Wild Marsh
 
“Todd Davis, in his new collection of stunning poems, marries the ordinary names of things to their extraordinary enigma. His acts of taxonomy lead not only to knowledge of this world but as well to gnosis of that other ineffable realm we might call the sacred. His poems see into the mystical and their song reaches toward the visionary, which is to say he is a lyric poet of breathtaking brilliance."
Eric Pankey, author of Reliquaries and The Pear as One Example
 
“These are intimately and precisely noted poems that examine the interdependent relationships among the inhabitants of the natural world—ourselves included. We humans are the ones who not only eat blackberries but revel in them; who sense the ghost of God in natural solitudes; who mourn our dead, taking the losses personally. By turns elegiac or celebratory, these poems are constructed from honest encounters within self-nature and the one body of the world.”
Margaret Gibson, author of One Body and Second Nature
 
“Reading Todd Davis’s gorgeous poems, you can’t help but feel that the capacities of human vision, and also our appetite for exactly this way of seeing and naming, have been mysteriously and precisely increased.”
Jane Hirshfield, author of After and Come, Thief

Awards

2014
Book AwardForeWord Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award, Bronze Medal, Poetry
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