The Tribal College Journal has just published podcast 7 of Christine Reidhead’s sessions with me about tribal college and university history. This podcast is primarily about Verna Fowler and I founding the College of the Menominee Nation in Northern Wisconsin. The link:
Category Archives: Thomas Davis
a sonnet by Thomas Davis
What responsibility do poets
assume once they have started writing verse?
Walking through the universe inchoate
has been rejected when their words immerse
them in the streams of dreams, emotions, thoughts
taking shape upon an empty page
and reaching out to other spirits caught
in living’s fears, hopes, love, joys, dread, and rage.
Should poets only sing of love and light?
Images that burn the retina like a flash
of lightning streaking through a sky’s black night?
Or is there reason for their lifetime’s cache
of words to speak of justice, truth, destruction,
the possibility of life’s extinction?
Ethel and I participated in a Write On Door County Art Speak’s event at the Kress Center in Egg Harbor earlier this week. Francha Barnard led the group, and we produced two poems after looking at the art on display on loan to the Kress from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
An ekphrasis poem from Kendra Bulgrin’s painting:
“All In A Dream”
She was startled
out of sleep
by a sound
and ran in bed clothes
to the water’s edge.
There, along a blackened beach,
a snow goose lay dying.
She knelt down
near it’s limp body,
cradling it with her torso’s warmth
all through the night.
In the morning
she woke from the dream—
the snow goose gone,
but its softness
lingering long across
the front of her chest,
its message seared
in her mind.
When An Artist Drew an Owl’s Portrait
by Thomas Davis
A response after seeing Rebecca Job’s painting, “Glow” —
This started as an ekphrasis poem, but, as with most poetry, carved its own path during the writing process, metamorphosing into a poem about a pastel, “Barn Owl,” I saw Ethel Mortenson Davis draw.
A full moon, bone white as fine china, shines
through young white pine needles branching into night —
but she isn’t aware of the night’s moon, or its darkness.
A box of multi-colored pastels, half used down to the nubbings:
and she leans over the hand-crafted dining room table,
big light overhead,
staring at black paper,
eyes where her spirit is.
Inside her stillness you can feel the predator’s feralness,
alertness tense with consecrated concentration,
and then, as if her prey is shocked,
fate suspended in time,
her hands blur, her whole body moving,
as lines slash into blackness
and smear color, movement
into an owl plunging claws silently
toward an unseen mouse.
In less than a thousand heartbeats,
as the round moon shines,
the barn owl is frozen into black paper,
wings flared, large eyes swimming
with claws, silence, wings, death,
I did a book presentation and signing at Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay today from 2 to 4 p.m. A crowd showed up and a bunch of that novel and other books that I have written sold. Ethel came and took a couple of photographs. Thanks go to John Maggitti and Liz Welter for sponsoring a great event!
A great review of “In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams” has been published in “The Peninsula Pulse,” a publication that distributes about 9,000 copies in the winter. The summer circulation is more like 16,000. It is by far the best local coverage publication I know about, and I appreciate this review by Alissa Ehmke.
My daughters, Sonja Bingen and Mary Wood, posted this on their Facebook pages, alerting me to this.
The book launch with Deb Wayman at Faire Isle Bookstore for In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams was spectacular. The novel is about a community of slaves escaping from the boot heel of Missouri near Mingo Swamp to West Harbor on Washington Island off the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin before the Civil War. Faire Isle is a small store, so it was so crowded that my daughter Mary and son in law Rick stood outside to listen to the reading I gave. The engagement of the audience, many of whom had families that had lived on the island for generations, was exciting. There were people who had already read the novel at the launch and they, like the reviewers so far, were highly complimentary, and even excited about the novel. The launch was a wonderful experience. I pretty sold out of all the books I had originally ordered and will have to order more today.
My new novel, In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams, has just been put on the market by All Things That Matter Press. It’s available at Independent Bookstores as well as on amazon, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732723788/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=In+the+Unsettled+Homeland+of+Dreams&qid=1566256736&s=books&sr=1-1.