Poetry. LGBTQIA Studies. Winner of the 15th annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, judged by Edward Hirsch. CLUB Q is a book of mid-American yearning for both exceptionalism and belonging. Beginning as a coming-out narrative, the poems track the story of a gay boy growing up in Colorado Springs, under the spectres of the U.S. military, megachurch Christianity, and chain-restaurant capitalism. As the speaker ages, he examines his complicity in his isolation and struggles to define community on his own terms. Through formal invention, high- and low-culture references, and deep wordplay, CLUB Q invites the reader to inhabit the precise imprecision of our human situation.
"CLUB Q is an elegant, unsparing book of inquiry, where 'curiosity / is the recognition of ignorance / as a kind of sickness.' One eyebrow cocked, queer as fuck, James Davis lays bare our various longings to connect, and the attendant absurdity: men in a hotel room who 'shared a queen / and left no stain;' the internet that, 'like water, / transmits the smell of blood in all directions.' This droll and formally promiscuous poet lets 'desire // italicize our somberest sentiments.' It's hard not to love this nerdy, sexy, vulnerable first book."—Randall Mann
"Reading James Davis' CLUB Q reminds me of slipping, long ago, into that mysterious Houston bar Marfreless (which literally possessed no address): once inside the utterly dark, soft ambiance, you felt your way through its space to settle onto the most forgiving of couches, down stiff drinks, luxuriate in the most animated and revealing of conversations. CLUB Q is one of the funniest and sharpest books of poems I've read in a long time. James Davis possesses a killer intellect, and his formal chops are bar none."—Cate Marvin
"In this incredible debut, James Davis catalogs the excesses and deficits of American culture, from the schlock of millennial childhoods (Fruitopia! Alpha-Bits! Street Fighter II!) to the confounding terms of our present moment, in which 'creative is a noun.' These ingenious poems tackle sticky questions about family and class, and what it means to be 'queer / in a military town where cadets / count out football scores in pushups.' They also celebrate letters and words themselves—the sheer abundance of language and the worlds it makes possible. CLUB Q is funny and wise, and it blew me away."—Caki Wilkinson
James Phillip Davis was born on a U.S. Army base in Nuremburg, Germany, and grew up in Colorado Springs, CO. He has a BA in French from the University of Houston and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. He has worked in marketing and instructional design for a major restaurant chain and as a high school speech-and-debate coach. His poems have appeared in two installments of the Best New Poets anthology (2011 & 2019), as well as numerous print and online journals, including American Literary Review, Copper Nickel, The Gay & Lesbian Review, and 32 Poems. When not writing, he plays tournament Scrabble and is consistently ranked among the top 100 players in North America.Author City: DENVER, CO USA