With just two books of poetry, and a third on the way, Peter Davis has already established himself as an innovator with a great deal of intelligence and skill. Modest but assured, he explores ideas most poets would not think to broach and pushes the accepted limits of form in ways that expand what a poem can be. Whether pondering the heinous mustache of the previous century’s most infamous tyrant, or inventing satirical monologues for real and imagined audiences, Davis knows that in order to break ground a writer must be bold and open to uncertainties: “An artist has to pursue something he or she is unsure of, but then pursue it recklessly.” While these pursuits make great comic shtick, they are only half the story, for Davis’s sense of play services a unique moral vision. The text below is a collation of one face-to-face interview in April 2011 and several email exchanges from April to June 2011. – Tony Leuzzi
What was the genesis for the idea of writing an entire book of poems about Hitler’s mustache?