These poems showcase frustrations and deep-rooted hungers so authentically human we almost catch the heartbeat’s throb in each line we ghost over. Every part of nature – the lover, the moon, snow, the sky, hummingbirds mating, a heard of elks – is worshiped on these pages, and with its incantations about how a woman resides within the (un)holy rooms of her body’s longing and belongings, Home Beneath the Church crafts a home, a sanctuary, for any reader to cohabitate with the language of the prismatic familial and sacred.
Lauren Davis’s hardwearing poems in Home Beneath the Church brim over with rumination, rhythm, and reaction. As “delicate / as church light,” these poems showcase frustrations and deep-rooted hungers so authentically human we almost catch the heartbeat’s throb in each line we ghost over. “I wait at the forest’s edge,” says Davis, “eager, out in the clearing,” and we can’t help but want to join her.
—Elijah Burrell, author of Troubler and The Skin of the River
In Home Beneath the Church, Lauren Davis brings us into the landscape of body through images from the natural world. Poem after gorgeous poem, she carefully shows how one’s past can cause harm, but there are cures in the world around us—“I have crossed one ocean to heal/at the hem of your skirts.” Davis has become one of my favorite poets for her fresh images, her engaging voice, and her absolutely exceptional ability to do so much in a small space. Home Beneath the Church is a collection of beauty and grace. These well-crafted poems are perfect gems in their brilliance and in their questioning of our temporary lives and environments around us: “How many graves have we danced on? How many secrets does each stone keep?” Lauren Davis is the poet you need to be reading; I am forever in awe of her work, and this stunning collection left me so thankful she is writing poems.
—Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides
Ever since I first encountered Lauren Davis’s exquisite poetry, I have longed for her first full-length collection. With its incantations about how a woman resides within the (un)holy rooms of her body’s longings and belongings, Home Beneath the Church crafts a home, a sanctuary, for any reader to cohabitate with the language of the prismatic familial and sacred. I am grateful now to be able to visit Davis’s debut abode.
—Sandra Yannone, author of Boats for Women
“There once was a wolf in me,” Lauren Davis warns us in Home Beneath the Church, preparing us for poems that, like wolves, trust their own instincts. These are poems that darken in the light the way rainworks painted on the sidewalk are activated by rain. They stand up humbly before a deeply intimate backdrop to exorcise demons of family and body. These are poems of reverence and fury to both monuments and small gestures of the body. These are poems of faith in the face of faithlessness. Every part of nature—the lover, the moon, snow, the sky, hummingbirds mating, a herd of elks—is worshipped on these pages. Davis is a poet who cannot name her sins without offering them her tears.
—Risa Denenberg, author of slight faith
is the author of the chapbooks Each Wild Thing’s Consent and The Missing Ones. She holds an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Davis lives on the Olympic Peninsula in a Victorian seaport community.