Coffin Honey

Welcome to the MSU Press podcast, where we talk about University Press publishing with some of the authors, editors, and publishers who make it happen from the campus of Michigan State University. On today’s episode, to kick off the fifth season of the show, we’re joined by Todd Davis to discuss his latest book of poetry, Coffin Honey. Thanks for tuning in.
As I said in the intro, this will be the fifth season of the MSU Press podcast, and I’m excited to share new interviews with MSU Press authors on subjects such as remix culture, nuclear energy, and life in a small town in Michigan’s upper peninsula. We’ll also have native American stories, Australian politics, eloquence in public speech, and plenty of poetry. I hope you’ll come along for the whole season.

Today, we’re discussing Coffin Honey. Todd Davis’s seventh book of poems and his sixth with MSU Press. In the book, Davis explores the many forms of violence we do to each other and to the other living beings with whom we share this planet. Davis dramatizes racism, climate collapse, and pandemic, as well as the very real threat of extinction in intimate portraits of Rust-Belt Appalachia: a young victim of sexually assault struggles with dreams of revenge and the possible solace that nature might provide; a girl whose boyfriend has enlisted in the military faces pregnancy alone; and a bear named Ursus navigates the fecundity of the forest after his own mother’s death, literally crashing into the encroaching human world. The poems in Coffin Honey illuminates beauty and suffering, the harrowing precipice we find ourselves walking along here in the twenty-first century. As in his previous prize-winning books, Davis names the world with love and care, demonstrating what one reviewer describes as his knowledge of “Latin names, common names, habitats, and habits . . . steeped in the exactness of the earth and the science that unfolds in wildness.”

TODD DAVIS is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry as well as a limited-edition chapbook, Household of Water, Moon, & Snow. His writing has won the Midwest Book Award, the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Editors Prize, the Bloomsburg University Book Prize, and the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Silver and Bronze Awards.

Todd Davis’s Coffin Honey along with his other poetry collections are available at and other fine booksellers. You can learn more about Todd and his work at You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.

The MSU Press podcast is a joint production of MSU Press and the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Thanks to the team at MSU Press for helping to produce this podcast. Our theme music is “Coffee” by Cambo. 

Michigan State University occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Anishinaabeg – Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi people. The University resides on Land ceded in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw.

Thank you all so much for listening, and never give up books.
MSU Press