NEA Literature Fellowships

Carol Ann Davis

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(2007 - Poetry)

"Grief Daybook I"

Today it's like water in the ear, a slow bleed in the brain,
thinking of your bones
and the marrow inside them. Last night,

half-awake, I leaned into the siren as it passed
and thought of Coltrane writing his liner-note prayer
--it all has to do with it--

and listened for the drumbeat of another pulse in me.
It's there, but I can't hear it. In the morning
there will be blue sunlight and organ music
from the church across the street.

Where you've gone, there will be a night sky of psalms--
a cello's goose neck, fingers waiting
above a stalled note.
                       Oh, ear of my ear,
there's hardly anything
left of you now.

Carol Ann Davis directs the undergraduate creative writing program at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC, where she is associate professor of English and editor of Crazyhorse. Her first book of poetry, Psalm, was runner up for the 2005 Dorset Prize and will be published in the fall of 2007. Her poems have appeared in recent issues of Agni, The Threepenny Review, and The Southern Review. In 2000, she received the W.K. Rose Fellowship for the Creative Arts from her alma mater, Vassar College, and more recently has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Photo courtesy of the author

Author's Statement

The fellowship comes at a time in my life when I am feeling the culmination of a few things: Psalm, my first book of poems, will be published within the fellowship year, and my second son will arrive during the fellowship, as well. It's a good time to focus on new work, and there's nothing like this kind of support to allow me to do just that.

Writing poems is solitary work, so to receive this type of recognition from poets one has trusted for years is a bit like receiving a bolt from the blue. A welcome one.