Category Archives: Thomas Davis

In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams to be Published by All Things That Matter Press

by Thomas Davis

I have just signed a publishing contract with All Things That Matter Press for my new novel, In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams. I was first introduced to ATTMP by the books of Diane Denton. The author of three novels (Without the Veil Between is a book that I have recommended on this blog), I have followed Denton’s career before she became an ATTMP author. I have also read some of Mary Clark’s books, the latest being Miami Morning, who is published by ATTMP. Located in Maine, HTTMP has a substantial, and important, list of both authors and books that they publish.

In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams is a novel about a black fisher community that located on Washington Island off Door County before the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. At the time it was the largest black community in Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee. The novel traces the community from the time of its meetings with Preacher Tom Bennett in the boot of Missouri in the Mingo Swamp through their flight from slavery northward through Chicago to West Harbor on Washington Island.

I first stumbled across the Washington Island community of black fishermen when I was doing research for my non-fiction book, Sustaining the Forest, the People, and the Spirit (State University of New York Press), a number of years ago. When I moved to Sturgeon Bay I read Island Tales, an anthology by Kay Curtis, and found a mention of the community again. I was intrigued and started researching in order to write what I thought of as a sonnet sequence at the time. Then, on a trip to Washington Island, the owner of Faire Isle Books, Deb Wayman, told me she would really be interested in a book on the black community since no such book existed. What was first intended to be creative non-fiction later turned into a novel.

The following is the sonnet that introduces the novel:

Inflamed Imagining

A Spenserian Sonnet

Inside the swamp beside a cypress tree
(White herons in the water, bullfrog croaks
A symphony as dusk, as stealthily
As cat’s feet stalking small, shy birds, evokes
The coming night) the Preacher slowly stokes
The fire blazed in his heart and starts to sing
Songs powerful enough to loosen yokes
White masters forged through endless menacing.

The words he used burned deep; he felt their sting
And saw his spirit fire alive in eyes
Awake to dreams, inflamed imagining
Of days spent free beneath glad years of skies.

The darkness deepened underneath the tree.
He’d preach, he thought, then, later on, they’d flee.

I should also send out a word of thanks to Ralph Murre, the former Door County Poet Laureate, who gave me the title of the novel during a poetry workshop at the WriteOn, the writer’s retreat and organization in Door County. It is a paraphrase of a line from a poem by Pablo Neruda.

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In Edgewood’s Orchard

Terza Rima Sonnet

by Thomas Davis

As dip-si-doodled as a particle
Inside the zipping universal whiz,
I stretched into a rusty horse and peered
At cultured woods that felt the guttural,
Mute roaring of a monster’s metal fizz
That jawed into a garden’s winsome weird.

Then, as an old farm’s walls grew images,
And glass shapes whirled with colored curves of light,
I felt creation’s fires congeal and mold
Into a spirit drawn from circuses
Born from the striving of an artist’s flight
Through zoos of sight, sound, thoughts, the manifold
Of what could be if chaos suddenly
Became a rusty horse whose eyes can see.

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Bards and Brew Tonight!

I just got an email from Ralph Murre, a former Door County Poet Laureate who is a classic poet!, reminding me that I will be one of two featured poets at Starboard Brewing, 151 N. 3rd, in downtown Sturgeon Bay this evening. Starboard Brewing is famous around here for its craft beers. I hope those in this area can attend this event. It tends to be something else.

Chuck Sully will be the other featured poet with his poetry about sailing and wild waters. There will also be an open mike. There tends to be quite an audience.

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OtherWorld’s Bookstore Display

A new bookstore has opened on Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay! We used to have two bookstores, but they have closed. Now Margaret Magle has opened a new bookstore on Third Avenue downtown. She is, right now, featuring books by Ethel Mortenson and Thomas Davis. We are hoping both tourists and local folks visit the store at 41 N. Third Avenue since we are hoping Margaret succeeds in her new endeavor.

Bookstoredisplay.jpg

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Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry, Published Books, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

Tribal Colleges and STEM

by Thomas Davis

I thought some of the readers of Four Windows Press might enjoy this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XyqwWR3_d4, which describes the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math work being done in tribal colleges across the United States.

This is obviously not about poetry, art, or photography, but I have worked in American Indian Education from 1972 up to the present time. I helped establish the National Science Foundation’s Tribal College and University’s Program (TCUP), working closely with Carrie Billy, then the Director of President Bill Clinton’s White Initiative of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), that this video explores. My role was not that important really, but I am proud of the work I did throughout my career in the tribal college movement nevertheless. Carty Monette and Carol Davis, both featured in the video, are not only good friends, but played a major role in helping establish the TCUs nationwide.

What the TCUs are achieving throughout the United States is, at least in my opinion, some of the most important educational work being done in the world today. This video just gives a small glimpse of that work and might introduce to at least some of you the TCUs.

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Reading from The Weirding Storm

Thomas Davis will be reading from The Weirding Storm at the Aardvark Wine Lounge at 304 S. Pine St. in Green Bay for the Untitled Town Book and Author Festival (https://2018.untitledtown.org/about-the-festival) this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. I am hoping, hoping some of my regional friends will be there!

cover.jpg

On Sunday at 2:00 p.m. I’ll be doing a workshop on Beyond the Game of Thrones Worldbuilding in SF and Fantasy with Kat Abbott at the
Green Bay Community Theatre 122 N Chestnut Ave, Green Bay, WI 54303. Do you want to become a master of SF and fantasy writing?

On Saturday I’ll be selling books at the Book Fair: The 2018 UntitledTown Book Fair will take place from 11 am- 5 pm on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, at the Broadway Center (Old Fort Square).

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A Wizard’s Spell

by Thomas Davis

from a new play that I am writing:

Reality dips, swirls, a dance,
a pirouette, a song, a trance,
and as the mist of being drifts
a chord is struck, and what is shifts,
and fate becomes a puzzle box
secured by puzzles that are locks—

And so reality becomes
a whisper, shadow that benumbs
the heart and changes what will be
into a storm-tossed, dicey sea.

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