January: Carol Davis, Poet

january-2016-mail-chimpJanuary will bring accomplished poet Carol Davis to Surel’s Place from Los Angeles.  While in residence, Ms Davis will write poems that explore themes of place and nature; family legacy & history and how they collide; Jewish superstition in belief and behavior; and faith and doubt, belief and observance.  In addition she will be revising manuscript for a new collection of poetry with the working title Fire Season, which will weave these themes  together.

“I am interested in the role of the land in people’s lives. My grandparents were Central and Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Having escaped war and uncertainty in Europe, neither set of grandparents ever felt completely at home in America. Although my parents were both born in the U.S., they inherited this unease, as I did, to a certain extent.”

A long-time faculty member at Santa Monica City College, Davis teaches English and Creative Writing. In addition, she is the poetry editor for Jewish Journal, America’s most widely used Jewish news site. Her work has been published in myriad top-tier literary magazines and poetry anthologies, and her book Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg won the TS Eliot Prize on 2007.  For specific information about her publications and awards, please view her CV here.


WORKSHOP: Who am I Anyway? Writing the Persona Poem
Saturday, January 16 | 1-3PM
limited to 10 | registration required

The persona poem is written from the perspective of someone or something other than the writer him/herself. The poet may choose to use a historical figure, an animal, an inanimate object, a character from another piece of literature; the possibilities are limitless. Writing the persona poem is a useful exercise for a writer, as the poet takes on the other character’s voice and can learn a great deal from this process. In this workshop, participants will examine a little known Brothers Grimm story and use its characters as inspiration to create persona poems.

READING: Fire Season
Friday, January 22
Doors 6:30 | Reading 7  | Until 8:30 pm
Join Carol Davis at Surel’s Place for a reading featuring poems from her collection Fire Season. The evening will also offer hors d’oeuvres, Cinder wine and mingling.
All events at SUREL’S PLACE
212 E 33rd St | Garden City, ID

The Autopsy, a Love Poem
Carol Davis

What did the surgeons think when they first opened the body,
saw the tight-fisted heart crouching beneath a fan of ribs?

A spleen that threatened to unleash its venom,
the muscles of an arm flexed to show its strength?

In ancient cultures, a man who became disfigured, even dying
to protect his children, could not enter the afterlife.

After a mother dies, can she watch her children stumble
through adolescence before she lets go? How is the soul

tethered to the body? The first night, as you slept, the light
shifted from slate to an uncertain gray, as if it too were waiting

for a prophecy. Its own worst enemy, it sends fatty stock cars
chugging through veins or tricks hormones to swagger like teenagers.

Is it irresponsible in middle age to give in to desire
when the spine has already been unzipped so many times?

Stones bind us to our past, yours Jerusalem the gold, mine
the crumbling palaces of St. Petersburg, each of us with siblings

cut down young – as if we could have rescued them, bargained
to save their broken bodies, traded our own futures.

Before the 16th century no official autopsies had ever been done.
In The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp the corpse appears lit within,

spotlighting the faces of the guild members that hover over it;
their concentration spills back over the body; knowledge perhaps,
not love, the key to immortality.

                                                           Mid-American Review                                                      Vol. XXXIV, No. 2
Finalist, 2013-2014 James Wright Poetry Prize