poem index

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.

Mostly Read The Luna Moth

Jordan Davis
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 feed babies?
He reaches to pull his shirt open
And I ask him, did you ever see
A baby eat broccoli? a ham sandwich?
Someday I will tell him

Food is an unpleasant subject
For poems, but today I am concerned
With biology. I am a science kid,
He says on the platform. Where'd
He hear that. I know where the one

About men nursing came from.
Seeing myself tell that story
I feel like California's
Poisoned groundwater and remember
How much work it is to be real.

Someone told you men can give milk,
But men don't. What about moms and dads
Who don't have children? Those are
Called men and women. He says
Oh a lot. It's immediate

And it lags into the next moment
And is quiet, what the teachers call
A zone of proximal delay. Without
This apparent lull there is only
Brilliance and potential. With it

I get to keep a faith
In the unguessable next.

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

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.

poem
The please freak
And the likeness monster
Follow the pretend family
On their journey alone
Around the room.

In the middle of the night
Comes the terrifying cry—
"How may I help you"

The tree looks down
And shakes its head.

Under separate cover
Of the night, love
Stalks the streets.

The audit committee
Goes
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