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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
The Little Spokane  
  Tom I. Davis

Nothing too prissy about this poetry: it’s coming right at you, frank and genial, delivered as a good tavern raconteur would, conveyed in the rough-hewn speech and clipped rhythms of the Northwest USA citizenry, God Bless every damned one of them. Tom Davis is working in the unmistakable tradition of poets like Stephen Crane, Carl Sandburg, Robinson Jeffers, Richard Hugo, Tom Wayman—the kind of writing that doesn’t get discussed much. . . . Details—place names, hair color, local and personal histories, features of dogs and CETA “clients,” landscapes and trawlers—refresh the old inescapable themes of La Comédie Humaine, “birth, copulation, and death.” . . . But what I’ll cherish most are the story-poems, so rich with that speech, redolent of chew-tobacco and insomnia, and that off-the-cuff, yet exactly observed, description of scene and character.

—James J. McAuley

The Little Spokane is a great book, full of life, in all its losses and consolations. Tom Davis is a writer of fierce, unflinching clarity, and what he sees he transforms—the river—itself, the “jest/water makes/ moving”; the lives of the down-and-out, in and around the city; and his own life, his past, observed with intelligence and honesty and precision. All these and more are reawakened, born anew in Tom Davis’s living, compassionate vision. Tom Davis is a poet of rare gifts, and The Little Spokane is a singular book, overflowing its banks with wisdom and love.

—Dennis Held

Tom Davis is the land he writes of: Davis has broken himself against basalt and coast from Tacoma to Yakima and beyond—here, in these tight poems, a great and original voice delivers us a poetry as sparse, hard, clear, and original as himself.

—Sebastian Lockwood

About the Author

Tom I. Davis

Tom I. Davis was born in the town of Milan on the Little Spokane River in eastern Washington State, has lived in the San Juan Islands and worked in the North Cascade Mountains for the Forest Service. He has worked on fishing boats in Alaska and taught aboard Navy vessels in the Western Pacific. Father of seven children, Tom Davis has lived in Spokane for 15 years. The Little Spokane is his first book.



People are the land.
Not cross-patches,
nor fence-row, clean
or weedy, edged
around with Russian
Olive in Kittitas Valley,
ridged by piled rock
in Lincoln County; but
the land rearing up
to caress or pierce
the sky: depths, heights
declivity into water or
gulch around Vantage,
monadnock buttes
in the Palouse, granite
remnant islands among
the wheat, loess blown
east from Prosser where
Horseheaven Hills wear
green suede in spring rain.

© 2000 by Tom I. Davis