John Davis Jr.'s fifth collection of poetry, The Places That Hold, praises the dusty morning light of citrus farming and the pleasures of fatherhood as it explores the darkness of places like the infamous Dozier Reform School in Florida's panhandle. Intertwining past and present with rural life, social justice, and the value of family, The Places That Hold offers readers a glimpse into the lesser-known corridors of the Sunshine State.
"The Places That Hold braves to tackle some of the darkest memories of our shared Florida history, never gratuitously, always unflinching, and with an eye toward understanding how we are formed and influenced by them. I'm thankful there exists the kind of storytelling in these poems that cannot be shaken loose. You will be thankful, too, to have found this book and to have discovered a masterful storyteller living here among us in the scrub pines and estuaries." -- Michael Presley Bobbitt, author of Florida Man and Trailer Park Elegy
John Davis Jr. really shows his range as a poet in The Places That Hold, his fifth full-length collection. In these poems, Davis delves into the hidden depths of fatherhood and the magic of place-based writing, specifically here in poems about Florida but focusing on parts of Florida that many of us don't know. There are also powerful poems about the Dozier Reform School, a dark memory in Florida's past, but one which Davis tries to illuminate as he gives voice to some of the young men who suffered there. This is a memorable collection.