30 Under 30 20/30: Geffrey Davis
“I learned to cry like that, as if
I could sprain the heart, the body hurting its way out.
But that morning my mind snuck
back to the nights he took paychecks and split,
sometimes for weeks, his head and body
humming for dope, his wife and kids
suspended by the boundlessness of waiting.”
-from What I Mean When I Say Elijah-Man
I love the softness of the word ‘masculine’. Too often the word is associated with what is muscular, rigid, strong, recluse, stubborn, & fisted. Geffrey Davis’ work takes that off and splits it open, shows us the soft cotton that makes the word muscular, the tender, purple flesh it takes to make the word strong possible. Geffrey’s work tackles manhood, fatherhood, sonhood (I’m gonna claim that as a thing today), love, & sexuality with a boxer’s hands: firm & weathered, capable of so much violence and wreckage, but purposefully gentle & fond when handling our fragile humanity. Geffrey is a master of the turn, able to guide us patiently through the nature of work, and because he is such a honest voice we trust him to lead us to where we want to go, where he wants us to go. He holds back from giving you the entirety of what he wants to say, and rations you the goods until you reach the end having survived and full from the nourishment of his words. People have taken notice of this. You name it, Geffrey has won it. This year he has been awarded two different prizes from literary journals, won BOA Edition’s A. Poulin, Jr. Prize, selected by the brilliant Dorianne Laux, and soon you will be able to carry the raw workings of Geffrey around in your pocket. Folks, get into Geffrey Davis. This man is a wonder of strength & delicacy, someone that we will watch for years and he muscles his way to the venerable & quiet.
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