The first fall 2017 read for the Fresno Poets’ Association Reading Series kicked off last Friday, featuring poet and Fresno State alumnus Glover Davis.
Davis, a professor of creative writing at San Diego State University, has written six poetry collections. His work has been featured in several journals, including “The Southern Review,” “Poetry” and “The Yale Review.”
Davis read poems from his book “My Cap of Darkness.”
“My cap of darkness is a football helmet,” Davis said when he introduced the title poem. “I played football, and your mind can go pretty dark if you do that.”
Davis said his poems are inspired by his family, friends, nature and his unpredictable daily adventures.
“Experiences from my life, dreams I had, things that happen to me, all those kind of things [inspire me],” Davis said.
The evening continued with the piece “Hyperostosis,” detailing his personal experience with the musculoskeletal disorder; “Her Ruined Dress,” a poem about his late wife’s battle with lung cancer; and “Wayne Thiebaud’s Cakes,” the story of a painted wedding cake destroyed in a bumpy car ride.
Skyler Lee, a sophomore studying nursing, attended the reading for a class and enjoyed the nostalgia from Davis’ work.
“I liked how he had this kind of dark tone, and he used a lot of symbolism,” she said. “I liked ‘The Ruined Dress’ just because I thought it was really sad and captured his experience in a really fitting way.”
Kirk Lua, a student studying poetry himself, said that he is also inspired by his family.
“That’s kind of why I liked [Davis’ reading],” he said. “The topic’s similar to what I’m writing about.”
Lua, who is writing about his abuelita as she ages, said that he could empathize with the darkness in the poems about Davis’ wife.
“That’s how he deals with death,” Lua said. “He made it into poetry, so he made it very beautiful.”
Both Lee and Lua expressed the importance of these readings and how they draw attention to the arts and the growth of Fresno artists.
“[Glover Davis is] known as one of the Fresno poets,” Lua said. “There should still be the new generation of Fresno poets that keep coming back because once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
Davis said that seeing professors and established writers read can inspire students to want to do the same.
“They experience the art,” Davis said. “They see what it’s like and what it could be, and it makes them maybe want to do something on their own like that.”