Literature & Spirituality: Brad Davis

Event time: 
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 5:15pm
Event description: 


Brad Davis, poet


an annotated poetry reading

THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2013 | 5:15 PM


Readings in Marquand Chapel followed by a book-signing and reception
Presented in collaboration with Yale Divinity Student Book Supply.



Drawing from his early poems, recent books, and new work, Davis will trace a decades long struggle with being an artist and a believer. Growing up, his “ur-poetry” included the biblical psalms, liturgized weekly, nursery rhymes, and Dr. Seuss. These sources (not equally pleasing), with song lyrics from the 1960s—The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Laura Nyro, Simon & Garfunkel, etc.—and a high school English teacher, opened him to what words can do and nudged him toward making his own songs and poems. Conversion in 1971 complicated what was his first and (to that date) only, self-generated life goal: to write a good poem. And then a better one. And eventually perhaps a great one. But suddenly the question: how to serve God and the work of making poems? In 1977, while holding a front desk job at a Virgin Islands resort, Davis had a chance encounter with sculptor and hotel guest Isamu Noguchi. Noticing that the sculptor carried a big book on art and religion, Davis inquired whether he saw his work as purely art-for-art’s-sake or expressive of a religious vision. Noguchi replied, “You cannot separate art and the Spirit.” The evening’s reading will trace one artist’s struggle to live and write into the wisdom of Noguchi’s reply.


Brad Davis has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and several books, the most recent being Opening King David (Wipf & Stock) and Self Portrait w/ Disposable Camera. His poems have appeared widely in such journals as Poetry, Paris Review, DoubleTake, Connecticut Review, Image, Michigan Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, The Cafe Review, Tar River Poetry, Ascent, and Chautauqua. Awards include an AWP Intro Journal Award and the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. Davis has taught creative writing at the College of the Holy Cross and Eastern Connecticut State University. As well, he served fifteen years as chaplain of Pomfret School in Pomfret, CT, where he is now a school counselor, poetry writing teacher, and squash coach. He is editor of Hill-Stead Museum’s online poetry journal, Theodate, and their 20th anniversary festival anthology, Sunken Garden Poetry, 1992-2011 (Wesleyan University Press).