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Chad Davidson


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
78 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Book

“What if the end were as colorless as real / estate?” the speaker asks in Unearth. Poet Chad Davidson’s latest collection takes a hard look at our world as it collapses under numerous trials and tribulations. Fashioned mostly of elegiac poems, Unearth charts the way in which personal grief ripples out to meet and mirror larger systems of loss. The first section deals with local traumas and bereavements—the loss of pets, the disintegration of a friends’ marriage. These tragedies combine with more ominous, larger breakdowns in the second section until, in the final section, grief roils over into historical wickedness, institutionalized violence, and state-sanctioned wrath. Ultimately, “Even the mouth / of a volcano, from far away, / is beautiful.”
The poetry itself offers us vessels into which we can pour out our despair. To understand the failing earth, Davidson’s speaker cajoles us to see the pain at its roots. From the opening poem—a reluctant elegy for a mother—to the final eschatological survey, an ode to maddening violence and destruction on a global scale, this collection imagines a world in which private and public terrors feed on each other, ultimately growing to a fever pitch. An act of resistance, this collection gives voice to our deep-seated emotional pain and offers us constructive ways to deal with it.


Chad Davidson has published three previous books of poetry, including From the Fire Hills (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), and two poetry textbooks: Analyze Anything and Writing Poetry. His work has previously appeared in 32 Poems, Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, and AGNI, among others. He teaches at the University of West Georgia.


“Davidson is a new Odysseus. He’s a traveler and a wanderer who finds the stories of our damaged world—from the loss of his mother to the labyrinthian back-alleyways of Rome wet with black rain—and brings them back to our lonely Ithacas. He is the Odysseus who has heard the terrible and lovely songs of the sirens and lived to tell the tale. He brings us the spoils and the salvage—beautiful rage and elegant despair—because, as he tells us, ‘Disasters also tell us stories.’”—Jeffrey ThomsonElectric Lit

"Davidson's writing is gorgeous, and the subject matter of this book is the timeless topics of great poetry—the death of a loved ones, mythology, travel (a partial life, really) in Italy, quiet semi-rustic moments at home. He has a way of weaving the moments of life into cloth wrapped around the reader."—Danielle Hanson, author, Fraying Edge of Sky

‘I'd love a revelation,’ says Chad Davidson, and the poems in Unearth unroll illumination after illumination as he contemplates his mother's death, Pluto, comets, family life, Italy, and the bombs going off all over the world. Davidson is equally adept with a microscope and a telescope as he moves through the tenuous fabric of his days, taking his readers into the beauty and heartbreak of the twenty-first century. A gorgeous book.”—Barbara Hamby, author of Bird Odyssey
“As the title suggests, our lives are an incessant foraging through our id-like history, personal and collective. No surprise then that his inventively tough-skinned poems should live in the shadows of disaster. But while Davidson offers up grief and loss at every turn, he also hints that some redemption is possible. In one poem, a voice from the dead declares: ‘We are such slow-burning happiness.’ The paradox—one of many in this book—electrifies. So we move from poem to poem—ever deeper.”—Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies
“Davidson’s fourth book unearths the exquisite spoils of grief and the splendor of heresy. These elegiac poems range from his mother’s death to the alleyways of Rome glittering with black rain. He is a modern Odysseus, the man of twists and turns. He voyages the oceans of loss and language and returns home to find us here, unfinished and broken. He brings us the spoils and the salvage—beautiful rage and elegant despair—because, as he tells us, ‘Disasters also tell us stories.’”—Jeffrey Thomson, author of Half/Life: New and Selected Poems