In Crown Prince of Rabbits, John Paul Davis unravels poetic self-portraits, breaking the spine of love and the language of serrated relationships. He shines the moon in his face to capture every angle, which not always flatters, but digs at the roots and rot of endings. This is a book that will feel like a novel, with upheavals and road trips (with music). His exit signs ask questions that even the reader can/should ponder. This is a book to drink with whiskey or strong coffee. This is a book that will leave you meditating on why it is we give our feelings away.
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PRAISE FOR CROWN PRINCE OF RABBITS
Reading John Paul Davis’s powerful Crown Prince of Rabbits is a reminder of the things that matter most in good poetry. In line after line, Davis’s surprising language pops off the page like beats off wax. But to focus just on the sounds in these poems is to miss the elegance of Davis’s narratives, the outrange behind his poems of protest. This is a poet who recognizes that the ear is the pathway to the heart but the truth is the real center—and he gives us his truths time and time again.
—Adrian Matejka, author of “The Big Smoke”
With Crown Prince of Rabbits, Davis confronts the grief of divorce, what it means to be a father long distance, and the way poverty can make one feel unworthy—all in the shadow of an unforgiving and increasingly invasive America. The true gift of these poems is in their vision beyond, the grace of rehabilitating the self, not necessarily as whole but as capable of loving and being loved. These poems sing the self in all its weight and hair and musk, in all its holy wonders.
—Stevie Edwards, author of “Humanly” and “Good Grief”
Goethe claimed, “By seeking and blundering, we learn.” Crown Prince of Rabbits is an elegant chronicle of exactly this equation. In poems imbued with wisdom, celebration, shame, discovery, humor, and music, we witness one man’s passage through the difficult, glorious, and sometimes ignoble act of change. These deftly crafted stories give attention to the complexity of being alive: from self-destruction to accountability to evolution to—at its most earnest—emotional intimacy. Here, Davis explores the thrum and folly of his own humanity with such precision, urgency, and honesty, I am left asking, What greater endeavor than to face oneself fully and come away more whole?
—Jeanann Verlee, author of “Racing Hummingbirds” and “Said the Manic to the Muse”
John Paul Davis takes us from loss back into love, and through the pleasures and discomforts particular to our age. Throughout these poems, the voice maintains a subtle gravitas. Even in extremes of feeling, these poems are measured and worked over like polished gems. Not simply moving, these poems provide a lesson in making experience into art.
—Corinna Bain, author of “Debridement”
What a gift it is to read poems that tell the truth without self-congratulation. That confess not for aggrandizement, but to allow each of us reading our own transcendence, our own transformation. Reading this book, I’m lifted out of my little existence and find myself, as the poet writes, “following something I have never seen / from city to silver city.” Heart-first, and willingly.
—Marty McConnell, author of “Wine for a Shotgun”
JOHN PAUL DAVIS was born in Durham, North Carolina, and has lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Ohio, and New York City. He is a graduate of East Carolina University and DePaul University. His writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Word Riot, The Journal, MUZZLE Magazine, RATTLE, Four Way Review, and Bat City Review. He is a former poetry editor for Em Literary and Bestiary Magazine. He helped run or host numerous poetry and variety shows including Page Meets Stage and The Encyclopedia Show. John Paul lives with his wife in New York City, where he works as a web developer, makes music and visual art, and writes poems. Crown Prince of Rabbits is his first book of poetry. Check out the digital album for Crown Prince of Rabbits on Bandcamp.
John Paul Davis, Crown Prince of Rabbits
Publication date: December 1 2016
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Author photograph by Jeffrey Kay