Todd Davis, winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and author of Some Heaven and The Least of These, is a professor of creative writing, environmental studies, and American literature at Penn State University's Altoona College. Todd's own poetry is influenced by the natural world, by family relationships, and by his personal knowledge of the Amish and Mennonite who live and farm in central Pennsylvania.
He was pleased to be asked to say something about fellow Pennsylvanian Dave Bonta's Odes to Tools, and I think his words reflect succinctly and beautifully what many of us feel about the integrity that exists between Dave's life and his poetry.
In Odes to Tools, Dave Bonta’s wide-ranging intellect and voracious curiosity are on full display, as is his insistence that we come to know the world that is forever passing from us. A meditation on everything from a measuring tape to a spirit level, this first book of poems demonstrates what all of Bonta’s readers at Via Negativa already know: here is the uncompromising voice of a man who has not allowed the broader culture to dictate what is important to him, or what is vital about the natural world that sustains us and the relationships that might actually transform us. As he says in “Ode to a Socket Wrench:” “with the click of a lever // the past screwed down / the future loose.” Bonta’s voice is one that offers keen insight into how we might move into that future, all of our senses intact, especially our common sense.
The latest news and commentary about our plans, events, authors, and titles!