Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davis

Posted Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “passiflora” direct from the author Kathy Davis in order to formulate my interview questions and to better showcase her collection through our conversation. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As I was sitting and listening to #Spotify (a bit of a random spin of Contemporary Indie Artists – songwriters, bands, ballards, hodgepodge of genres, etc) whilst working on prepping my posts for the last days of April & the first days of May (as aside from a few blog tours sprinkled throughout May, most of you know MAY is my month to rock & cheer for the Fantasy novelists who draw me into their Speculative Fiction worlds as I co-host our 4th @WyrdAndWonder this year!

Whilst the music was lifting me spirits & mood – I kept a ready eye for new tweets & bookish news – as also I was drafting new posts & sorting out where I am with both my blog’s schedule and my #currentreads! I had the pleasure of receiving the photos which will accompany my conversation, today! I was quite excited for them as I felt they added quite a bit to the interview itself and allowed everyone to see the Ms Davis’s photography. 

I’ve been fortunate to start reading & showcasing poetry again this Spring, 2021. I kicked it off with Arisa White’s new autobiographical poetic drama “Who’s Your Daddy” (see also Review) whilst I concluded April with Cheryl Wilder’s “Anything That Happens” which is also autobiographical and dearly dramatic as she elevates how to heal through trauma by finding cathartic clarity in poetry and dramatic prose. (see also Review)

This May I welcome Ms Davis to my blog and it was an honour to host her and Ms Wilder – as they are newly on my radar for poets who write stirringly realistic poetic dramas & autobiographical narratives in dramatic poetic formats.

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Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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I was truly grateful to welcome Ms Davis to Jorie Loves A Story – especially after having learnt she’s been enjoying the way in which I approach sharing my readerly experiences in the works of Poetry & Drama I seek out from blog tours. It is nice to have such wonderfully positive feedback from a fellow poet who is enjoying reading the reviews which challenge me the most as a book blogger to compose.

In part, because unlike Fiction & Non-Fiction – poetry speaks to a different part of our heart & mind – it connects through the soul and takes us on a different kind of emotional journey. To be able to have my words on behalf of the collections I’ve read and reviewed in the past resonate with someone else is the best compliment I could receive. May all who visit find a bit of inspiration in what I’ve left behind. And, hopefully find some encouragement to constantly seek out works of literature which seek to challenge them to read harder and deeper into new literary waters,…

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Your poetry is infused with the natural world and the rhythms of nature. As they read as if your observations of those moments were writ as soon as you saw them – I was left curious, do you take a notebook with you to keep those impressions as they first appear to you or are these reflections on the memories of those moments?

Photo Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy Davis

Left to Right : a) wildflower meadow, b) herb garden in Ireland and c) wildflower meadow
Photo Credit: Kathy Davis

Davis responds: I keep a journal on my desk where I’ll note things I’ve seen or heard that have stayed with me, but often I’ll pull those “obsessions” into my life in some way—to play with them firsthand, figure out what they mean. For example, after I met the naturalist described in “How to Grow Wild,” I put her advice to use in turning a portion of my yard into a wildflower meadow. The process taught me much and helped me work through my grief for my mother—leading to the poem. And each time I see a monarch butterfly, I think of her.

Another example is the borage blossoms described in “Undone.” I was introduced to the herb when I worked on a farm in Ireland, harvesting the flowers to sell to local restaurants who used them as a garnish on salads. I loved the color so much that later, when I was back in the U.S., I planted borage in my own garden. So, it was something I saw daily during the summer that ultimately found its way into the poem.

I oft find this true myself – how something we’ve observed has a larger impact on us lateron. The art of journalling is something I’ve struggled to maintain off/on over the years of my life. I have moments where it is fluid and others where it is elusive. I celebrate anyone who has better luck than me at maintaining a way to chronicle their thoughts, memories and experiences. We share a mutual love of photography, though! I would love to say I can garden but I’ve never had the right patch of land for it to make it conducive as the soil where I live is quite aggressively non-starting when it comes to plants. Wildflowers give me so much joy every year seeing where they’ve grown and what stretches of road they have beautified. It would be keen to have a meadow like this one day as there is a draw to connect with both the earth and the flowers whilst your gardening, I must admit.

Connecting your life and your experiences into your poems was wonderful to see — all the poets I’ve been featuring this Spring were doing the same thing – wherein their poetry collections read more like Non-Fiction Memoir than just a collection of poems. It is that fusion of life and memory and heart and soul which spoke to me the most in each of the different collections I was reading and ultimately showcasing on Jorie Loves A Story.

The harmony of nature and the time elapses of our lives tend to connect to each other as you’ve shown throughout ‘passiflora’. How did you develop your style of poetry and find a way to purport time itself through the natural world as it reflects against your own experiences?

Photo Credit: Kathy Davis

Sunrise from Ft. Worden on Olympic Peninsula of Washington state : Photo Credit; Kathy Davis

Davis responds: Someone once said that to garden is to live in the past, present and future at the same time. And I think, as a gardener, the rhythms of nature are something I rely on as a constant against which the chaos of our day-to-day lives plays out, and that shows up subconsciously in my writing. Yet, climate change has shown us how fragile our environment is and that the cycles we depend upon are being disrupted (as in the poem “Freeze”).  Where then do we find hope? That is a question with which I often find myself struggling. Maybe, like in the poem “Fort Worden,” hope is found in the willingness to keep on trying—whether we’re working to protect a marriage or the Salish Sea—and in taking the time to share and celebrate what we have, like the beauty of a sunrise.

I could not agree more with your sentiments — the best bits of life are the moments we can hold onto and celebrate – even if they are smaller joys, they are still something which gives us a great deal of happiness to reflect upon and to catch portions of our lives as their being lived. As you said, it is hard to grasp everything that happens in our lives and that leads into a lot of introspective reflection, too. Climate change has definitely played a role in the cycles of the natural world and the influx of issues with both gardening on a small level and on a larger scale due to the inconsistencies of the weather and the conditions of the land itself. 

Hope is something which renews all of our spirits and allows us to great every new tomorrow; quite true. I liked how you were working things through your mind and sharing your thoughts with us in your poems. 

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Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davispassiflora
Subtitle: poems
by Kathy Davis
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Women's Studies, Poetry & Drama, Botany, Ecology, Horticulture


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1930781580

Published by Cider Press Review

on 15th February, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 80

Published by: Cedar Press Review (@CiderPressRev)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Autobiography and #Poetry Drama
& #KathyDavis and #passiflora

About Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer from Richmond, VA. She is also the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Blackbird, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, storySouth and other journals. Davis holds a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been a finalist for Best of the Net and the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction.

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Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

And now our concluding bits of the conversation:

In your poem “With A Delicate Flicker of the Fan” – you’ve taken the raw emotions of understanding the fragility of our human experiences against the tidal-waves of our declining health and how within the physical and medical challenges throughout our lives, we find our inability to accept the weaknesses of our bodies against the will to continue to live and seek out the morrow. And, yet, the ending eclipses the key issue being faced in such a poignant way. How did you tap into the emotional centre of this poem and how did you find the right words to connect the reader to something they might not understand without you to guide them?

Photo Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy Davis

Hatboxes and fans : Photo Credit; Kathy Davis

Davis responds: This poem came about after some nodules were seen on my lungs during a routine screening exam. I felt perfectly fine at the time and when further tests revealed a chronic infection called Lady Windermere’s Disease, it felt like my body had betrayed me by harboring something harmful unannounced. Yet, I also found it hilarious that there was an illness named after a character in an Oscar Wilde play about secrets and denials. As I processed what had happened to me, I reread Lady Windermere’s Fan, and that (somehow) led to this sense in the poem of briefly escaping the fact of our own mortality by immersing ourselves in the sensuousness of the present moment.

I think this is singularly one of the best ways to turn bad news into something more meaningful and of course, there is a bit of cheekiness of humour how Wilde plays a part, too. I love hat boxes myself because I were a lot of hats IRL – there is something to be said for the lost art of both hats and their boxes – which is why I was thankful you shared some of your own photographs about them. The fans are delightful too and as a reader of Historical Fiction every year, hats and fans are are quite commonplace! 

On a serious note, I hope your health and wellness has not been as afflicted as it had been on your first diagnosis and that you’re doing quite well indeed.

In your poem “Snapped” you gave us a realistic impression of mumhood from the perspective of a mother who’s trying to do something rather ordinary but with the foreknowledge it could lead to something in prosperity and yet, it’s the toll of that act in that moment she’s lived it which speaks the most about her state of mind and the pressures on mothers. So much living history was etched into this poem – as if whispers of the past fell forward through the poem. Was this rooted in a particular story passed down in your family or inspired by something else completely?

Photo Credit: Kathy Davis Family Archives

Photo Credit: Kathy Davis Family Archives

Davis responds: After my mother died, I found among her things an old photograph of two little girls standing with their backs to the camera. I had no idea who the girls were or who had taken the picture until I later came across a note from my Great-Aunt Agnes. My Great-Grandma Emma was the photographer, and my grandmother and Agnes were the subjects. Agnes’s written recollection of how the picture came about inspired “Snapped.” Until that point, all I knew about my great-grandmother was that she was considered an old-maid schoolteacher (at 27) when she married the one-armed widower with six children who was my great-grandfather. They then had five children together. Raising 11 children while helping her husband farm cannot have been easy, and this poem, for me, honors the strength and resourcefulness of the women in my family on whose shoulders I stand.

I love old photographs – we have several ourselves and before my grandmother passed – I told her see needed to write some notes down about who was in the photographs themselves because at some point we’d might all forget who was whom. She didn’t quite understand why that was needed but I’m thankful she wrote the notes all the same. As I was looking over ours, I noticed how different the photographers approached taking photographs and how their a different style than even the last half of the 20th Century might have inspired, too. This is also why I love looking at antique shops and seeing if they have a box of old photographs. 

I loved hearing the fuller background on your ancestors and also hearing how much fortitude they had as a family. You’re quite right – eleven children is impressive and how lovely you found a way to give honour to them now through the poem.

What do you love most about poetry and what continues to inspire you to create the portraits of life through your own poetic verse?

Davis responds: Robert Frost said, “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat,” and I love poetry’s intensity and spareness. I believe when an image or phrase keeps nagging at me, it means there is something it’s trying to show me, some deeper meaning that’s asking to be unearthed. And I find the best way to find what it’s trying to teach me is to wrestle with it on the page. What other images and sounds does it summon? How do they fit together? I enjoy the puzzle of it. And by focusing so intensely on something seemingly small, it can open up a whole new perspective.

I admit, Poetry has a lovely way of presenting life in such a different way as a story in long or short form of fiction. I find Poetry to be immediate and triggering specific reactions whereas with stories you have to read the fuller scope of the novel itself before you can feel you’ve eclipsed the messages the writer has imparted to you. With Poetry, it is quite more immediate in how we connect ourselves to both the poems and the poet and in effect, poems are stories cast into a different symphony of sound and motion.

Thank you for sharing insight into your poems and your writerly process. I have enjoyed conversing with you and learning more about how you approached this collection. I am hoping others on the tour route and visitors alike will takeaway a lot of keen insights for themselves.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Poetic Book ToursFollow the blog tour for more readerly insights & reactions as well as guest features featuring Ms Davis. Kindly support my fellow book bloggers & visit their blogs.

If you’ve missed ANY of my previous showcased poets

– from featured interviews & reviews

– kindly browse through my archives!

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{SOURCES: Book cover “passiflora”, author biography and photograph of Kathy Davis as well as the Poetic Book Tours badge were all provided by Poetic Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Author Interview banner provided by Parajunkie and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #Conversations with the Bookish banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

I am a social reader | I tweet my reading life

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life




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2 responses to “Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davis

  1. Thank you so much for interviewing Kathy Davis for the blog tour. Your interviews are always so well thought out, engaging, and elicit some of the best responses.

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