Geffrey Davis’s award-winning second collection of poems reads as an evolving love letter and meditation on what it means to raise an American family. In poems that express a deep sense of gratitude and wonder, Davis delivers a heart-strong prayer that longs for home, for safety for black lives, and for the messy success of breaking through the trauma of growing up during the crack epidemic to create a new model of fatherhood. Filled with humor and tenderness, Night Angler sings its own version of a song called grace―sung with a heavy and hopeful mix of inherited notes and discovered chords.
“Geffrey Davis’s poems reveal the small slants of light, the unusual turns of fate, the near invisible machinations―of humans and nature―that ripple through everything with consequences yet also always with a breathless and radiant redemption. Love, fatherhood, family, loss are all engaged with lyrically and with a deeply engaging and persuasive insight. Davis is a quietly brilliant poet.”
―Chris Abani, author of Sanctificum
“In Geffrey Davis’s stunning collection Night Angler there is a grace fathered by risk, a wonder mothered by worry. These lines cast and cast through generations of fathers to find music and floods and hands that can deliver both tenderness and violence. This is the book I want to give to all the parents in my life so they can see their own struggles and songs and be reminded that the lessons we offer our children are often the ones we need most, that ‘there are those who touch a body and leave it graceful: be that kind of wonder.’”
―Traci Brimhall, author of Saudade
“The poems in Geffrey Davis’s Night Angler sing in both ecstatic joy and tremendous lament. We partake in the rituals of fatherhood―both coming into and growing out of the spiritual bond. We witness the anguish of loss but also the possibilities of childhood. And in that threshold between life and death where all fathers and sons traverse, the brilliant harmonies of understanding arise in rainbowed arcs like epiphanic trout rising to kiss the sun. Poetry and prayer have never shared so close a breath.”
―Oliver de la Paz, author of Labyrinths
“The hooked lines of Night Angler fish in the headwaters of memory and the riverine flow of the present. What we catch are poems about coming to terms with a drug-addicted father, coming of age as a ‘black boy’ in America, and coming through the ‘wilderness of worry’ as a husband and new parent amid racial violence and environmental injustice. Throughout, the poet displays a fidelity to poetic craft and innovative technique that few second books ever achieve. While you will be lured into this book by its ‘blood-song for/ the marrowed ache and awe of tomorrow,’ you will be released, upon reading the final poem, breathless.”
―Craig Santos Perez, author of [lukao]
[T]he second collection from Davis (Revising the Storm) is a tender prayer to the everyday anchored in the experience of fatherhood. [...] He addresses his son and, in so doing, addresses us all: “there are those/ who touch a body and leave it/ graceful: be that kind/ of wonder.” Davis has written one of the most moving collections about fatherhood to come along in years.
<Starred Review, Publishers Weekly>
Bright energy illuminates every page for an emotional odyssey; and sometimes these poems read aloud, because of the right language, become hymns.
<Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books>
Angling is a craft of tenderness and violence, and Davis straddles both in his explorations of fatherhood, son-hood, loss, familial and romantic love, and race.
<Nicholas Molbert, Diagram>
Contemporary poetry has its say about family, often ragingly, sometimes with finicky sentimentality, but this James Laughlin Award winner offers a more nuanced and thus gutsier take. [...] VERDICT A strong second work after Revising the Storm that will resonate with any reader interested in the ties that lovingly bind.
<Barbara Moffert, Library Journal>
[T]his book, in itself, is a master class of how to write about those nearest you, how to risk and earn sentiment without being sentimental. Funny, moving, profound.
<Mark Wagenaar, Valparaiso Poetry Review>
Geffrey Davis’s latest collection, Night Angler, explores the complexities of memory, landscape, and identity. From love letters and prayers surrounding youth, fatherhood, and family—to a river that holds the solace of fishing and life in the South—the book constantly evolves. [...] Night Angler journeys you through childhood to parenthood, through violence to peace, and through the wilderness to home, leaving you disarmed.
<Jenee Skinner, Arkansas International>