cover image Night Angler

Night Angler

Geffrey Davis. BOA, $17 (96p) ISBN 978-1-942683-78-0

Winner of the James Laughlin Award, the second collection from Davis (Revising the Storm) is a tender prayer to the everyday anchored in the experience of fatherhood. Poems that share the title “The Night Angler” emerge in different permutations. While out on the water fishing, the speaker reflects: “in time I will lead my own boy/ into the precision of this contraction/ inside the throat this animal alarum in the dark.” But just as each father’s identity is unique to him, so does the meaning of “angler” shift and change. It appears redefined “as in one who stumbles through the dark house” (a portrait of the poet’s father who struggled with addiction). Davis toggles back and forth between these lenses, building emotion through skillful contrasts in language. At the center of the collection, five poems titled “3:16” riff off the famous biblical passage from the book of John. In one, Davis watches his only son dance to live music, observing with the terror and awe of being a father, “how open to perish we have become how freed from/ first intent how surrendered to believeth only as my begotten sways.” He addresses his son and, in so doing, addresses us all: “there are those/ who touch a body and leave it/ graceful: be that kind/ of wonder.” Davis has written one of the most moving collections about fatherhood to come along in years. (Apr.)