Publisher and Publication Date: Cider Press Review. January 20, 2021.
Pages: 73 written pages and illustrations.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from the author and publisher. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Poetry readers.
Rating: Very good.
Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer who received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her poetry manuscript, Passiflora, won the 2019 Cider Press Review Book Award and was released in February 2021. 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, Diode, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, storySouth and other journals. 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. After raising their two boys, she and her husband moved to an old farmhouse outside of Richmond, Va., where she tends a wildflower meadow when not writing.
Passiflora is a collection of poems about our day-to-day struggles with loss, raising children, relationships, aging and creating art, and how the nature that surrounds us informs how we view these challenges and sometimes serves as a source of solace.
Passiflora is a lesson to me to never read a poem quick. The first time I read through the book at a quick pace. The second and third times slower. I let the words trickle through me. I let those words savor a bit in my mind.
I am fond of nature in poems. Passiflora uses the natural world to compare and express other parts of life like relationships.
Since I’ve had breast cancer, I can relate to the poem on page 18, “Sunday.” I know it’s an uncomfortable subject. People wonder what they can do and automatically think about providing a meal. While reading this poem I can feel the discomfort, the things unsaid, and the dare to follow through with just being there as a friend.
Another favorite poem is on page 26, “Eve: After the Fall.” I’m amazed at the introduction-the shift-the use of words bringing in the second child-“he.” It is beautiful and moving.
The form or structure of the poems is noticeable. The stanza arrangement. The pause of spaces. These are on purpose. I love this.
I love the illustrations included in the book. I wish there were more. They are botanical drawings.
The front cover of the book is a photograph by Grace Kellogg. It is a close-up view of the pistil and stigma in a blooming plant-possibly a flower. These are the areas that germinate and produce.