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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.

With My Back to City Hall, On Yom Kippur

Jordan Davis
The gnats love the highway dividers, 
the freelance pickup artists love the softness of the hands 
of the women who love their friends
for walking with them laughing at the situation, 
lost people love that I am sitting here looking likely to know, 
I love it when I know, knowledge in the form of radar 
loves the cloud cover which resembles my headache 
in its topography and its effect on my mood, 
the path which connects Park Row with Broadway
loves the paranoia which has closed off all the paths closer than this to City Hall, 
Jesus loves the balding man in the striped windbreaker
who looks at my small script and remarks, "Jesus loves you,"
I love the silk suit and the hard candy curl hair
of the middle-aged black woman going by with her dry cleaning, 
I love the sock the bundled baby recumbent in an Aprica stroller kicks out, 
I love from a distance the speck this woman in the tight clothes 
reaches to brush from her shoe, I love the effect it has on her distraction, I love 
the ties tucked into the short sleeve shirts of the men returning from lunch, 
I love the men and women my age strolling
with purpose in their Pumas, the feather tumbling by, 
the drift of the hulking red haired woman with psoriatic elbows, 
the opal in the hairbow of the Hindi woman in white robes 
and the tuck of her husband's shirt into his jeans, 
the ticking of the wheel of the bicycle rolled along 
by a backpack-wearing man on foot, 
the acceleration of an open-roof double-decker tour bus, 
the ignition cough of the not-in-service kneeling bus, 
the change clod and leaf-shuffle of the lower torsos 
and the carry-out conveyor sound of a closed up shopping cart, 
I love the downturned glance of the woman carrying the Borzoi College Reader
    crossing against the light and going into Pace,

may all these people have rent-stabilized leases, 
and may they be registered to vote, in their unions, 
and in the next election.

Poem from Million Poem Journal, reprinted with permission of Faux Press Books

Poem from Million Poem Journal, reprinted with permission of Faux Press Books

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
When I am sitting at my desk and I have feelings
It is like I am the lone passenger in a little boat
On a sunny windy day.  When we are lying down
And we have good feelings it is a speedboat skipping
Like a stone among the islands I feel we’re in.
When we are sitting in bed at five a.m. talking the light
On I
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
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