Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Literature professor to read original poetry

Todd Davis will read original poetry on Sept. 30 in the Wilson Center, as part of Augustana’s “River Readings” program.
Davis is a professor of American literature, creative writing and environmental studies at Pennsylvania State University’s Altoona College. Davis’ reading will be one of three performances during “River Readings,” which brings literary authors of fiction and non-fiction and interested students together to discuss professional writing.
“Art offers the chance for us to become better human beings,” Davis said. “Part of art, when you’re encountering and making it, is getting outside of your own self. It evokes emotions and it expands the way we think about the human experience. Art humanizes us and gives expressions to our deepest fears, to our highest hopes, to what confuses us the most, to joy and to sorrow.”
Davis has had work featured on the radio by Garrison Keillor, on The Writers Almanac and by Ted Kooser in his syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry,” according to a press release. The poet has won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and has been featured in some of the most prestigious poetry journals in the world.
“Todd is very passionate about poetry and about bringing it to life,” Amanda Makula, “River Readings” coordinator, said. “He loves working with students and his poetry encompasses so many different aspects of life.”
“I absolutely love finding connections between the work of the writers and the classes here at Augustana,” Makula said. “As an example, Todd is visiting a geography class, an environmental literature and a writing poetry class. I hope that interacting with these writers will make a connection between class and the real world and that the students will be changed in some way.”
Davis says that his goal as a professor is to allow students to create a relationship with poetry. He suggests that even those who would not normally consider themselves fans of poetry can come engage with this event.
“I think that a liberal arts education is about developing a lifelong curiosity about ourselves, about others and about the world,” Makula said. “Poetry explores what it means to be human. So, even if you don’t typically read poetry it can spark your curiosity.”
Following the event, will be a reception and book-signing.

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Literature professor to read original poetry