Geffrey Davis is the author of Night Angler (BOA Editions, 2019), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. He also coauthored the chapbook Begotten with poet F. Douglas Brown. Named a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Davis has received the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Porter Fund Literary Prize, and the Wabash Prize for Poetry, as well as fellowships from Bread Loaf, Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Whiting Foundation for his involvement with The Prison Story Project. His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, New England Review, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Oxford American, PBS NewsHour, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Raised by the Pacific Northwest, Davis lives in the Ozarks and teaches with the University of Arkansas’s Program in Creative Writing and Translation. He also serves as Poetry Editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.
Mentor. Workshops and classes in poetry.
Statement: I encourage writers to keep sight of what comes next. Yes, we will work on sharpening our craft through intensive practice with technique and through a study of prosody that is grounded in the synergetic relationship between reading and creativity. But the art of writing (like thinking) is an ongoing and lived engagement with how our voices and our hands shape and get shaped by the world. That engagement should evolve and thrive beyond the particulars of any single learning context. As such, I think of workshop as an interim where we cultivate habits of mind and sensitivities to craft that a writer can adapt according to their everyday grind and develop according to the complex joys and troubles of living.
I believe both art and artist fare better when we advance aesthetic choices together with questions about the philosophical implications behind our creative work. I also find that candor about my own failures and successes can help reframe the writing process on more accessible and therefore healthier terms. Through a combination of support, challenge, and surprise, writers should leave workshop with a renewed sense of reflection and feeling emboldened to ask the questions necessary for leavening their writing in the years to come.