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About this poet

Jordan Davis was born in New York in 1970. He attended Columbia College, where he studied under Kenneth Koch and was an editor of the college's paper. He graduated with a BA in English in 1992 while continuing to work as Koch's assistant and editor.

Davis is the author of the poetry collections Shell Game (Edge Books, 2018) and Million Poems Journal (Faux, 2003), as well as several chapbooks. He has also 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). 

From 1992 to 1994, Davis served as editor of the Poetry Project Newsletter. In 1995, he became host and curator of the Poetry City reading series. He was also an editor for Teachers and Writers Collaborative for several years, and in 1999, he founded the literary journal The Hat with a Teachers and Writers colleague, Chris Edgar. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the poetry editor of The Nation, and he has written about poetry for PaperSlateThe Village Voice, and Constant Critic, among other publications.

Davis lives and works in New York City.


Bibliography

Shell Game (Edge Books, 2018)
Million Poems Journal (Faux, 2003)

Mostly Read The Luna Moth

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.

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

A wave of love for you just knocked me off my chair

I will love you and love you

I will reach out my hand to you in the noise of carhorns and merengue and pull you close by the waist

I will call you my museum of everything always

I will call you MDMA

I love you ecstatic exalted sublime

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.