The daughter of one of the NASA engineers who returned the Apollo 13 crew from the moon, Carol Ann Davis grew up on the east coast of Florida the youngest of seven children, then studied poetry at Vassar College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Carol Ann is a poet, essayist, and author of the poetry collections Psalm (2007) and Atlas Hour (2011), both from Tupelo Press. The Nail in the Tree (Tupelo, 2020), Carol Ann’s new collection of essays, narrates her experience of raising two sons in Sandy Hook, CT, on the day of and during the aftermath of the shooting there, utilizing her experience of poetry and visual art to contextualize her own parenting within a broader history of violence. A former longtime editor of the literary journal Crazyhorse, she is Professor of English at Fairfield University, where she is Director of the Low-Residence MFA and founding director of Poetry in Communities, an initiative that brings writing workshops to communities hit by sudden or systemic violence. An NEA Fellow in Poetry, Carol Ann has read her work at the Library of Congress, Poets House, on the website of the PBS NewsHour, and at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival. Her work regularly appears in literary magazines and periodicals, including The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, The Georgia Review, Image, The Gettysburg Review, The American Poetry Review, and Agni. She lives in Newtown, CT, with her husband and two sons.
May 10th, 2020 | 39 mins 53 secs
My guest is Carol Ann Davis. Her new book "The Nail in the Tree" narrates her experience of raising two sons in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on the day of and during the aftermath of the shooting there. Part memoir, part art-historical treatise, these meditations lead her to explore crucial subjects, including whether childhood can itself be both violent and generative, the possibility of the integration of trauma into daily life and artistic practice, and the role of the artist. Davis is the author of two previous poetry collections, Psalm (2007) and Atlas Hour (2011), both from Tupelo Press, and a professor of English at Fairfield University.