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About this poet

Born in New York in 1970, Jordan Davis was recognized for his editing and criticism as early as high school, winning prizes from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Davis went on to attend Columbia College where he studied under Kenneth Koch and was an editor of the college's paper. He graduated with a B.A. in English in 1992, while continuing to work as Koch's assistant and editor.

Davis served as editor of the Poetry Project Newsletter from 1992 to 1994. Davis was also an editor for Teachers and Writers Collaborative for several years. In 1995, he became host and curator of the Poetry City reading series and in 1999, he founded the literary journal The Hat with his Teachers and Writers coworker Chris Edgar.

In 2003, Davis released his first collection of poetry, Million Poems Journal (Faux, 2003). Since then he has coedited several collections of poetry, including Free Radicals: American Poets Before Their First Books (Subpress, 2004) and The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch (Knopf, 2005). Davis has reviewed poetry for both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and has written about poetry for Paper, Slate, and The Village Voice.

Davis currently writes about poetry for The Constant Critic and The Nation. He is married to the writer Alison Stine. He divides his time between New York and Ohio.

Amber Alert

Jordan Davis
Having a child changes you. For example,
A salmon's face extends forward, a giant underbite
Emerging, and then there's the matter
Hanging off their sides. I am proud to be
An American. Also, I'm proud to be a Protestant,
And wasn't whiteness a smart choice.

When people complain to me about Spielberg's manipulative
And frequent cutaways to children in danger—
People being me—I remind them that sarcasm
(Which does so well in the funnies) plays on television
As arrogance. The point is to put a big-ass
Unavoidable conflict, the kind metaphors with tools

Such as hammer, wrench, or fire in them are usually used
To illustrate how they turn us into material,
Materiel, to put this conflict in front of an audience
And present them with options. Suddenly I was able
To notice that what attracted me most was to know
When I actually needed to take care of someone.

Previously published in The American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2010 by Jordan Davis. Used with permission of the author.

Previously published in The American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2010 by Jordan Davis. Used with permission of the author.

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

Born in 1970, Jordan Davis is the author of a poetry collection and many reviews and essays about poetry

by this poet

poem
Yet in that silver age
A pale boy
The sea god’s love
Came toward a fine and flashing
Monotony; and steam came
From him as from a mechanism
And he came to disregard
The magnetic seasons
As teachers hurry under a tent the heat
Coming toward him even as
He sinks himself further
As if to please again the boring god
poem
The savor of mango is unlike
Toothsome papay. My son takes
My hand and brings me
Into the classroom; Fluffy
Is absent and unremarked-upon

And in his place, two butterflies
Use tentatively in a sentence.
One, he explains, is a boy and
The other one lays the eggs,
I counted the dots, is a girl.

Why do boys not
poem

My father taught me how to play the beer bottle. It was Schlitz, and I was three or four. "You tuck your lower lip under, then blow air over the top of the bottle." I produced a tone, and we laughed. He paused. "You can make a different sound if there's less in the bottle," he said, motioning for me to take a sip.