When tensions veer between hope and despair, the ensuing fracture can swing like a scythe and cut a ragged seam between past and present. In One Wild Word Away, Geffrey Davis weaves a deft set of poems about illness, family, loss, and rebirth. The luxurious sonics and crisp descriptions in each line are haunted by grief and buoyed by love as the speaker confronts generational trauma and the potential loss of a loved one while in the process of raising his own son.
In One Wild Word Away, Geffrey Davis imagines a song that contains all the contradictions within us, a song to guard against illness, loss, and death, all the old stories of our past. He imagines a new story, too, one that “brightens something else between us.” This book is that song. We can hear it, this love, and “It hums like mercy.”
―Blas Falconer, author of Forgive the Body This Failure
"Only LOVE" is at the heart of this honest, searching new collection by Geffrey Davis in which tender and intricate language transforms raw material: a stuttering marriage, the ghost of a father's addiction, the hauntings of a hard past in a newly-hard, newly-hopeful present. How does the child-self still within us understand "my chance to see I would survive // looking a blessing in its full face before believing/ I deserved the voice of light." Davis, again and again, displays a fierce insistence to seek and offer tenderness to even the most brutal violence; to find "awe with wings as slick as any ruin" or to see "morning // adorned that glade's depressions / with a little light." In poem after poem, he shows us that brokenness means, if we can be truthful, not only challenge, but also hope: "the sidewalk's unevenness, buckled / by the old roots below." I will turn to this book when I need someone to help me find my way back to that most complicated and simple act: love.
―Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Toward Antarctica