"Many poets feel that they know the natural world, but Todd Davis has absorbed this world fully into his heart and mind. He is a fine, rare poet."
—JIM HARRISON, author of Legends of the Fall and The Shape of the Journey
“Reading Todd Davis’s gorgeous poems, you can’t help but feel that the capacities of human vision, and also our appetite for exactly this way of seeing and naming, have been mysteriously, precisely increased.”
—JANE HIRSHFIELD, author of Come, Thief and The Beauty
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Average rating from 10 members
Unapologetic and unflinching, Coffin Honey is the first collection of poems by Todd Davis that I've read, and I think I will need to look into his other collections because this? This is beautiful. There are several layers to each poem in this collection, and the meaning for each changes depending on how you read them. Admittedly, due to my lack of familiarity with specific historical events, figures, and such, some of the poems that contained references and allusions to the aforementioned went over my head. Thus, what I understand of those poems is probably far from what the poet originally intended. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the observations of nature and humans. One aspect that I really liked are the characters. Many of them aren't limited to a singular poem and together, they added another layer of cohesion to this collection. This makes it more of a story with different perspectives than just a collection of poems. Another would be the gorgeous imagery. It's breathtakingly vivid and at times, haunting. I spent so much time reading this collection, going over and over the same lines just to take in deeper the beauty and intensity of the imagery. The way violence is juxtaposed with serenity, life with death, nature with man-made—it's done so well that the impact these poems have becomes greater. However, despite my love for the powerful contrasts the poems here have, I must also admit that the ones that touch on nature and man-made things can be too jarring. Certain poems also have a strong feeling of clinical detachment, if not for the entirety of the poem, then for parts of it. There are also ones that have a flow (when reading) that isn't as smooth as expected. Perhaps these are intentional, but for me, they made for an awkward read. Everything considered, Coffin Honey is a must-read for those who prefer their poems more visceral and cutting. This collection is one of instinct, survival and violence. You won't find significant joy or tranquility from the pieces here.
A selection of poems about the violence people do to one another as well as to the natural history. Trigger warnings abound, and so much heartbreak and hardship can be difficult to read, but Davis is a strong poet and makes the reader question why we continue in this way.