Biography of David Bottoms
David Bottoms (born 1949, Canton, Georgia) is an American poet.
Bottoms' first book, Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump, was selected by Robert Penn Warren as winner of the 1979 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared in magazines such as The Southern Review, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper's, The Paris Review, and Poetry, as well as in over four dozen anthologies and textbooks. He is the author of seven other books of poetry, In a U-Haul North of Damascus, Under the Vulture-Tree, Armored Hearts: Selected and New Poems, Vagrant Grace, Oglethorpe's Dream, Waltzing Through the Endtime, and We Almost Disappear as well as two novels, Any Cold Jordan and Easter Weekend. Among his awards are the Levinson and the Frederick Bock prizes from Poetry Magazine, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Bottoms has given over 200 readings in colleges and universities across the United States, as well as the Guggenheim Museum, The Library of Congress, and The American Academy in Rome. He has been interviewed on several regional and national radio and television programs, including two interviews on National Public Radio, and he is featured in a half-hour segment of The Southern Voice, a five-part television miniseries profiling Southern writers. Essays on and reviews of his work have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Southern Living, The Southern Review, Poetry, The Observer (London), and dozens of other newspapers and literary journals. Profiles appear in a number of resource books, including The Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Literary Criticism, and The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry. In 2006, Bottoms was honored as a Star of the South by Irish America magazine.
Bottoms received his B.A. from Mercer University and his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He has been a Richard Hugo Poet-in-Residence at the University of Montana and currently holds the John B. and Elena Diaz-Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he edits Five Points: A Journal of Art and Literature and teaches creative writing. He was Poet Laureate of Georgia 2000-12.
David Bottoms Poems
Shooting Rats At The Bibb County Dump
Loaded on beer and whiskey, we ride to the dump in carloads to turn our headlights across the wasted field, freeze the startled eyes of rats against mounds of rubbish.
My Daughter At The Gymnastics Party
When I sat for a moment in the bleachers of the lower-school gym
Twice through my bedroom window I've seen the horned owl drop from the oaks to panic
Under The Vulture-Tree
We have all seen them circling pastures, have looked up from the mouth of a barn, a pine clearing,
Neighbors, Throwing Knives
In the woods at the corner of our yards we hang the plywood squares,
Sign For My Father, Who Stressed The Bun...
On the rough diamond, the hand-cut field below the dog lot and barn,
A Walk To Carter's Lake
Look, above the creek, hummingbirds in the trumpet vine. Not too close, wait. See the green blurs
In The Black Camaro
Through the orange glow of taillights, I crossed the dirt road, entered
In A U-Haul North Of Damascus
Lord, what are the sins I have tried to leave behind me? The bad checks,
Under the fire escape, crouched, one knee in cinders, I pulled the ball-peen hammer from my belt,
Sometimes when she sleeps, her face against the pillow (or sheet) almost achieves an otherworldly peace.
My Father's Left Hand
Sometimes my old man's hand flutters over his knee, flaps in crazy circles, and falls back to his leg.
After The Stroke
By the time he'd hit eighty, he was something out of Ovid, his long beak thin and hooked,
Sometimes when she sleeps, her face against the pillow (or sheet)
almost achieves an otherworldly peace.
Sometimes when the traffic and bother of the day dissolve
and her deeper self eases out, when sunlight edges
through curtains and drapes the bed, I know she's in another place,
a purer place, which perhaps doesn't include me,
though certainly includes love, which may include the possibility of me.
Sometimes then her face against the sheet (or pillow)
achieves (almost) an otherworldl