“Tamp” by Denton Loving

At the intersection of calluses and care, one finds Denton Loving’s poetry. In his latest collection, Tamp (Mercer University Press 2023), the author takes us into the pastoral reveries produced by his home state of Tennessee, but he likewise transports us into matters of lineage and love, writing of his parents (predominantly his father) with […]

Treasures in the Dirt: Rachel Custer’s “Flatback Sally Country”

With the blue-collar grit of Philip Levine, the maternal feminism of Lucille Clifton, and the dexterous formalism of Howard Nemerov, Rachel Custer’s Flatback Sally Country is a hybrid of all things enjoyable in a book of poems. From line one of this collection, “All day the sky is a closed fist,” the poet begins taking […]

“Bel Canto” by Virginia Konchan

A reader rarely encounters a volume of poems where every page demands rereading, but Bel Canto (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2022) is just such a book. Virginia Konchan’s fourth full-length collection of poetry sings with the energy of a meaningful church service while simultaneously praising the secular, the cultural, and the overtly human. Employing language […]

John Davis, Jr.

John Davis Jr. is the author of The Places That Hold (Eastover Press, 2021) and four other collections of poetry. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Common, Nashville Review, Tampa Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Salvation South, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA and teaches English and Creative Writing in the […]

Claire Hamner Matturo interviews John Davis Jr., Author of “The Places That Hold”

CHM: John, thank you for taking the time to share some of your insights and thoughts with our readers. Let’s start by talking about your Southern heritage and agrarian ties. You are an eighth-generation Floridian, which must be increasingly rare. References to this legacy appear in your poetry in The Places That Hold, including “Letter […]

“The Places That Hold,” by John Davis Jr.

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro A trim, eloquent book of fifty-one well-wrought poems, The Places That Hold (Eastover Press 2021), by John Davis Jr., is rich with evocative images which will captivate and charm readers. His accessible phrases are subtly complex, weaving more than a bit of mystique into his nuanced layers. With his poet’s […]