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Thomas Davis

Thomas Davis has previously published a dozen books. He won the Edna Fiction Book Award for his novel, In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams. The Wisconsin Library Association named Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings, poems about tribal colleges and universities and the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium movement, an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry. He has also written one non-fiction book, Sustaining the Forest, the People, and the Spirit, and two epic poems, The Weirding Storm and An American Spirit. Davis has also been a long-time educator, working for American Indian tribes in Wisconsin, Northern Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New Mexico.

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Poetry

Mythos of the Door,

2023, Four Windows Press

The poems in Mythos are largely either narrative or lyric, presented through traditional forms, including sonnets, blank verse, sestina, and others. Works like “The Coming of Christmas to Washington Island” and “Cherry Orchard” have appeared in publications such as The Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living in the United States and Great Britain.

Mike Orlock, the current Door County Poet Laureate, described the book as “an ambitious, novel-like attempt to capture the history, the character, and the mythology of a singularly remarkable place: Door County, Wisconsin, that thumb of land which juts out into the waters of Lake Michigan.”

 

Fiction

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Juniper's Dragon

2024, Four Windows Press

In the El Malpais wilderness of New Mexico, Juniper Window lives in a cave in a deep collapse that his father has built into a home. They live a strange existence where the witch of the El Malpais stands in large Ponderosa pine trees on nights of the full moon and haunts a stark landscape of lava flows, cinder cones, caldera sunk into the earth, lava tube caves, and sandstone bluffs.

 

One night, after a depressing day at school, Juniper confronts the beautiful witch in her tree, and she chases him until he finally escapes down a lava tube that branches into other lava tubes deep in the earth. He finally reaches a great cavern with an underground river. There he sees "great lizards moving in darkness. Tongues flickered in and out of huge mouths with rows of razor-sharp teeth." When the largest of the lizards notices him, Juniper hears a voice in his head that tells him to follow to where a lava tube leads to the surface. Juniper is hesitant, but what other choice does he have? He could never follow the maze of tubes he'd scrambled down before he found the great cavern.

 

When, poised above the cavern in front of the lava tube he has been led to, he speaks out loud to the great lizard, the lizard informs him that it not a lizard but a dragon.

 

Thus starts an adventure that is partly a love story, partly a tale of madness in a world filled with the violence and problems confronting contemporary society, including drug use, and partly a story of healing, family, and redemption. Poetic prose sings as events sweep over the wild landscape of the El Malpais and Ramah, New Mexico and dragons and human hurtle toward a climax that promises enormous changes in a world that has no idea of what is about to happen.

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Prophecy of the Wolf

2023, All Things That Matter Press

Prophecy tells the story of Ogima, a young Neshnabek (Potawatomi) boy who lived on the Door Peninsula on on Washington Island during the mid 1600s. In the novel Ogima tells about his interactions with the waubeno Quapaw who was a powerful shaman that tried to protect the Neshnabek from the affects caused by the French fur trade and European economies into tribal life. Ralph Murre, a former Poet Laureate of Door County, said about the book: "If it's true, as I suspect, that most of us have only the most vague notions of the time when the French were exploring and exploiting the interior of North America, and perhaps have no realistic notion at all of the Native peoples with whom they would interact, then I think this brilliantly researched and imagined historical novel will bring us one giant step closer to clarity in our thinking of that time and place."
 

In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams

All Things That Matter Press, 2019

An Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award historical novel about the seven black families that escaped slavery in the bootheel of Missouri and made it through the underground railroad to West Harbor on Washington Island before the Civil War. In the novel a young slave, Joshua, on the day he receives a vicious whipping, escapes with his mother and six other families through the Mingus Swamp from the plantation where he lives and runs north, terrified that they will be found by slavers looking to bring them back to their masters. The novel recounts their perilous escape via the underground railroad to Chicago and then Washington Island and then what happens when they settle in the wilderness that still dominates the island's wondrous beauty. This is one of the all time best sellers in the Door County area.

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