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Forth A Raven

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  53 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In the Book of Genesis, Noah sends forth a raven and a dove to test the status of the flood. The return of the dove is widely celebrated, but the fate of the raven—the bird who speaks—is left ambiguous. In Christina Davis’ luminous first collection of poems, her questions are those raised by the journey of the raven and what he represents: language and communication, risk, ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Alice James Books
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Sep 21, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing
This is one of the strongest and most moving first books of poetry I've ever read. Austerely carved, moving poems of immense intelligence, each word honed as a Giacometti sculpture, to equally profound and mysterious effect.
Sep 01, 2014 Joe rated it it was amazing
Maybe more of a 4.5 but found myself to be quite fond (and maybe unexpectedly) of this book. I suppose that bears some explanation: the voice tends to take on a number of overtones or stances, gestures even, that I find quite aesthetically displeasing and which would normally put me off a book. Despite this, there was a strong attention to form and breakage that was incredibly rewarding and more than made off for the qualities that I normally would shy away from a text because of. Poems felt cra ...more
Vivienne Strauss
Mar 18, 2015 Vivienne Strauss rated it really liked it
A lovely book, my favorite was Bluegrass.
Open Loop Press
Mar 09, 2009 Open Loop Press rated it it was amazing
Shelves: interviews
Christina Davis is “carving out a place in the noise.” Hers is a syntax stripped bare, absent of the “ums,” the “likes,” the half-starts and premature stops of everyday speech. In that syntax one finds evidence of the contemporaneous density and paucity of text. A few words in succession reveal the locked chambers of childhood, loves longed for and lost, the vigor of grief.

We are each what never leaves us, what we never see
the back of
is the self. But what loves us

is at the back, as Eurydice was
May 29, 2010 Brenda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: contemplators of sacred uncertainties
Shelves: poetry
What happens to the raven, sent by Noah, to scout for land? Unlike the returning dove, the raven's fate remains indefinite.

Christina Davis' small book seems a subtle form of devotional. In the titular poem, Davis asks, "Do you love me? Will I die?" And the bird's response: "We came in full view // of an island / or a continent, for we knew // not whether." To appreciate such answers, one must be negatively capable in the spirit of Keats.

My favorite poems in the volume include:

"The Sadness of th
Jan 04, 2016 Kerfe rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I liked the middle poems the best in this collection. Do I prefer poetry without an "I" that is so central, or does it just seem to intrude too much here? Davis' relationship to the natural world also seems forced, painted on, especially in part one.

Some ideas and phrases caught my ear, but did not for the most part form anything memorable in my mind. More a volume of potential than realization.
Sep 03, 2016 Margaret added it
Shelves: poetry
I wish I had more time to read this one. I read it quickly, making notes on the things I would like to go back to. Hopefully I will.

There is no obscurity in Davis's poems, as there is in the poetry of so many others. The remarkable thing about Forth A Raven is its clarity.
Ben G
Aug 07, 2014 Ben G rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Always a bad sign when the Goodreads description starts "In the Book of Genesis," but I love Davis's lines and construction I'm willing to overlook some of the Biblical imagery and SO MANY BIRDS.

"An Ethic," from last year, shows a lot of growth as a poet -- this is her first collection from 2006 and feels that way. If I'd read them chronologically, I'd have found this one interesting and felt like when her later work grew stronger, like I discovered something on my own.
Emma Bolden
Apr 16, 2012 Emma Bolden rated it it was amazing
Cassie, I hope you read this because I want to thank you for this book ending up in my hands. It's the best book of poems I've read in a long while.
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“We are each what never leaves us, what we never see
the back of
is the self. But what loves us

is at the back, as Eurydice was
escorting him out
without his knowing.”
More quotes…