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In the Kingdom of the Ditch

Todd Davis

Publication Year: 2013

In poetry that is at once accessible and finely crafted, Todd Davis maps the mysterious arc between birth and death, celebrating the beauty and pain of our varied entrances and exits, while taking his readers into the deep forests and waterways of the northeastern United States. With an acute sensibility for language unlike any other working poet, Davis captures the smallest nuances in the flowers, trees, and animals he encounters through a daily life spent in the field. Davis draws upon stories and myths from Christian, Transcendental, and Buddhist traditions to explore the intricacies of the spiritual and physical world we too often overlook. In celebrating the abundant life he finds in a ditch—replete with Queen Anne’s lace and milkweed, raspberries and blackberries, goldenrod and daisies—Davis suggests that life is consistently transformed, resurrected by what grows out of the fecundity of our dying bodies. In his fourth collection the poet, praised by The Bloomsbury Review, Arts & Letters, and many others, provides not only a taxonomy of the flora and fauna of his native Pennsylvania but also a new way of speaking about the sacred walk we make with those we love toward the ultimate mystery of death.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Contents

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pp. 8-13

I.

Taxonomy

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pp. 3-4

Perspective

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pp. 5-18

A Consideration of the Word “Home”

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pp. 6-19

Consciousness: An Assay

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pp. 7-8

Dona Nobis Pacem

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pp. 9-22

Seeing Things

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pp. 10-23

The Consolation of Wind

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pp. 11-24

Limbo

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pp. 12-25

Deer Dreaming Me

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pp. 13-26

Imago Dei

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pp. 14-15

Midrash

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pp. 16-17

A Mennonite in the Garden

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pp. 18-19

Fishing for Large Mouth in a Strip-Mining Reclamation Pond near Lloydsville, Pennsylvania

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pp. 20-33

What Lives in the Wake of Our Sleep

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pp. 21-34

Two Sounds after an October Storm

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pp. 22-35

Resurrection: A Field Note

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pp. 23-36

Morning Poem

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pp. 24-37

The Knowledge of the Lord

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pp. 25-38

The Gospel of Beauty

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pp. 26-39

Brushwolf

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pp. 27-28

Vigil

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pp. 29-42

Letter to Dave B. with May’s Insatiable Hunger Tagging Along

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pp. 30-43

Upon Looking Down onto the Top of Your Head Where the Hair Has Gone White

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pp. 31-44

Atrial Fibrillation

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pp. 32-45

What We Do while We’re Dying

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pp. 33-46

Begging Bowl

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pp. 34-47

Nurse Log

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pp. 35-36

Thinking of Li Po while Fishing the Little J

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pp. 37-50

What I Told My Sons aft er My Father Died

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pp. 38-39

II.

Thoreau Casts a Line in the Merrimack

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pp. 43-56

Thoreau Hears the Last Warbler at the End of September

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pp. 44-57

Dreaming the Dark Smell of Bear

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pp. 45-58

Thoreau Considers a Stone

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pp. 46-59

Emptying the Bedpan

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pp. 47-60

Give Us Th is Day

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pp. 48-61

Psalm Written the Last Week of December

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pp. 49-62

Thoreau Dreams of Margaret Fuller Three Days after Her Death

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pp. 50-63

In the Clear-cut

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pp. 51-64

The Virtues of Indolence

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pp. 52-65

Offering, as One Example, the Satisfaction of the Bee

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pp. 53-66

Thoreau Surveys the Ice

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pp. 54-67

In the Kingdom of the Ditch

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pp. 55-68

Heaven Come Flying

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pp. 56-69

Thoreau, in Death

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pp. 57-70

Consecrated

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pp. 58-71

III.

Not Writing, Then Writing Again

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pp. 61-74

Hermetic

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pp. 62-75

Hawks Flying

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pp. 63-76

When the Body Is Absent

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pp. 64-77

Coal

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pp. 65-78

Three Songs for Flannery O’Connor

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pp. 66-68

Theophany

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pp. 69-82

Ordinary Time

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pp. 70-83

Spring Melt

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pp. 71-84

The Sound of Sunlight

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pp. 72-73

Letter to Dave B. from the Karen Noonan Center on the Chesapeake Bay

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pp. 74-87

Last of the Sea

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pp. 75-88

Missing Boy

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pp. 76-89

Apophatic

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pp. 77-90

Most of What Is Written Is Simply Grief

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pp. 78-91

Heliotropic

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pp. 79-92

The Poet Stumbles upon a Buddha in Gamelands 158 above Tipton, Pennsylvania

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pp. 80-93

Crow Counsels Me in the Ways of Love

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pp. 81-94

Deposition

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pp. 82-83

Perigee

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pp. 84-97

Somnambulance

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pp. 85-98

Transfiguration

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pp. 86-87

Last Bones of Winter

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pp. 88-101

Umbilical

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pp. 89-102

Poem on the Anniversary of My Father’s Diagnosis with Pancreatic Cancer

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pp. 90-103

A Prayer for My Sons, after a Line of Reported Conversation by the Poet William Blake to a Child Seated Next to Him at a Dinner Party

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pp. 91-104

Meditation on Hunger at 2 a.m.

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pp. 92-105

I’ll Catch You Up

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pp. 93-107

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 95-97

My thanks to the editors of the following journals or publications in which these poems first appeared, sometimes in different form. ...

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About the Author

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p. 113-113

Todd Davis is the author of four full-length collections of poetry—In the Kingdom of the Ditch, Th e Least of These, Some Heaven, and Ripe— as well as of a limited edition chapbook, Household of Water, Moon, and Snow: The Thoreau Poems. He edited the nonfiction collection, ...


E-ISBN-13: 9781609173562
E-ISBN-10: 1609173562
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860702
Print-ISBN-10: 1611860709

Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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