In Crown Prince Of Rabbits, John Paul Davis’s first full-length collection of poetry, Davis writes compellingly about the aftermath of “this American heartbreak” and the heart’s journey toward healing and wholeness. Set against the backdrop of his own history, current events, pop culture and an intimate landscape cluttered with electronic devices, Davis turns his keen eye on his own shortcomings, “every lame joke, missed connection, fumbled kiss, too-late comeback”, while raising his voice in celebration of the many blessings inside suffering and loneliness. Davis maps a trail through both divorce’s deeply personal grief and the invasive and atomizing politics in an incresingly-divided America. Taking refuge in music and private tiny moments of the spirit, Davis approaches his subject with curiosity, wonder and openness in the face of sorrow and alienation, celebrating risk and the chance for love to heal love’s own wounds. “Rise up, dead man, / there is heartbreak & there’s music. So dance.”
Poems In The Book
Want a taste of Crown Prince Of Rabbits? Check out some of the poems from the book in the literary journals where they first appeared:
- "American Funeral" published in Word Riot
- "Advice To A Young Writer" published in FreezeRay Poetry
- "Emperor Of Drones" published in Radius
- "Love Song With Drones & Wiretaps" published in Radius
- "John Woolman's 21st Century Blues" published in Radius
- "Bicycling Home At Dusk I Closed My Eyes & Let Go & Saw The Rabbits" published in Four Way Review
- "The Blank Yorke" published in Jet Fuel Review
- "A Geology" published in Wherewithal
- "Winter Compline" published in Denver Syntax
- "Ode To The Bite Mark You Left On My Right Shoulder" published in The Legendary
- "Outside Of Poetry" published in The Legendary
- "10-9" published in Drunk In A Midnight Choir
- "The Legislature Unanimously Voted My Beard State Beard" published in Drunk In A Midnight Choir
- "Year Of The Game Face" published in Drunk In A Midnight Choir
- "Toasts To David Byrne" published in The Museum Of Americana
- "Beard" published in The Journal
- "Passwords" published in deComp
- "Self-Portrait As A Husband" published in Bat City Review
- "Lazy Eye" published in Sentinel Quarterly
- "Exit, Pursued By A Bear" published in Sentinel Quarterly
- "My Father's Record Player" published in Beech Street Review
About The Recordings
What began as a writing aid prescribed by the poet and musician Shira E ended up becoming its own project. In 2015, as part of a writing course taught by Shira, Davis began composing music using GarageBand, other free software and some borrowed instruments. Eventually Davis conceived the idea of composing original music for every poem in the book, and releasing a standalone album. He spent the next year recording and composing at home, using found objects, traditional instruments, is software programming skills, and purchased software like Ableton Live and Logic to create the unique, experimental music to which he read every poem in the collection.
The album is available on Bandcamp.com for purchase. People who buy the one of the first 200 copies of the book in person receive a free download code. If you have ordered the book online and would like a download code for the recordings, send a screen grab of your transaction receipt to: crownprinceofrabbits at johnpauldavis dot org.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by John Paul Davis in the spare bedroom.
All music composed by John Paul Davis. Poems written by John Paul Davis. Cover illustration & design by John Paul Davis.
Listen on Bandcamp
John Paul Davis is a poet, musician and programmer. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Four Way Review, RATTLE, MUZZLE, Word Riot, deComp, and Again I Wait For This To Pull Apart. His first collection of poetry, Crown Prince Of Rabbits, was published by Great Weather For Media in December. You can find out more about him at http://www.johnpauldavis.org.
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.”– Marty McConnell - author of “Wine for a Shotgun”
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”
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”
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"
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"
You can now order Crown Prince Of Rabbits from IndieBound.
Purchase through the Espresso Book Machine
Order in person or online through your favorite bookstore such as Greenlight.
You can buy the recordings at Bandcamp.
If you have ordered the book online and would like a download code for the recordings, send a screen grab of your transaction receipt to: crownprinceofrabbits at johnpauldavis dot org.
No readings booked right now; check back soon.