Todd Davis publishes new book of poems, earns Pushcart Prize nomination

Todd Davis

Todd Davis

Credit: Penn State

Todd Davis's new book of poetry, Native Species, was published by Michigan State University Press. Native Species is Davis's sixth book of poems and is praised by Ross Gay, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, as one that “looks with patience, ardor, and often heartbreak at his beloved landscapes.” Harvard Review describes Davis’s poetry as “unflinchingly candid and enduringly compassionate."

In poems set primarily on the Allegheny Front, Davis ushers the reader into a consideration of the green world and our uncertain place in it. As he writes in “Dead Letter to James Wright,” “You said / you’d wasted your life. / I’m still not sure / what species I am,” and, to that end, Native Species explores what happens to us—to all of us, bear, deer, mink, trout, moose, girl, boy, woman, man—when we die, and what happens to the soul as it faces extinction—if it “migrates into the lives of other creatures, becomes a fox or frog, an ant in a colony serving a queen, a red salamander entering a pond before it freezes.” He wonders, too, “How many new beginnings are we granted?” It’s an important question, and it freights, simultaneously, possibility and pain as we consider what we have done to our home ground. 

Davis, a professor of English and environmental studies, also recently earned a Pushcart Prize nomination from The Summerset Review for his poem “Notes on the Anniversary of the Death of Galway Kinnell,” which is included in Native Species.