May 12, 2022

Poetry Reading: Todd Davis and Erin Murphy

Todd Davis and Erin Murphy will read excerpts from their new poetry books on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. in the Titelman Study at the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts. The reading will kick off the Hard Freight Café’s spring open-mic event.

Davis, a professor of English and environmental studies, will read “Coffin Honey,” and Murphy, an English teacher, will read “Taxonomy”.

“Coffin Honey” is Davis’ seventh collection of poetry. The poems explore the violence of human beings towards each other and the natural world and address issues of racism, climate collapse and pandemic through a personal lens. Poet Adrian Matejka calls Davis “one of America’s most expansive and imaginative poets” and observes that in his latest book he is “revealingly in tune with the mundane and the spiritual”.

“Taxonomies”, Murphy’s eighth book of poetry, is a collection of demi-sonnets, a seven-line form she invented. Reflecting scientific taxonomies, the poems categorize elements of human experience that defy simple classification: gender, aging, relationships, and social justice. “Erin Murphy’s ‘Taxonomies’ crosses the boundaries of what poets can do with form, musicality and meaning in the small space of seven lines per poem,” says poet Shaindel Beers. “They are poems of body and mind, soul and society. They are poems for all of us, and Murphy is a master of his craft.”

Davis and Murphy will be signing copies of their books which will be available for purchase.

The reading will be followed immediately by the open mic event at the Hard Freight Café. Participants are invited to read or perform their own work or music or share a favorite piece of poetry or prose. Participants will be asked to register at the start of the program. Hard Freight Café is sponsored by the English Program and “Hard Freight”, Penn State Altoona’s online student literary magazine.

The event is free and open to the public.