Friday, May 31, 2019

Love poem displayed in poetry box

My poem "These Things" is currently on display in The Fox Poetry Box in St. Charles, Illinois. This is one of the coolest places my writing has appeared. Such a great concept!

Thank you to Tricia M. Cimera Whitworth for selecting my poem.

Photo by Tricia M. Cimera Whitworth

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Order New Chapbook

Order the new chapbook HEARTVINES by Jay Sturner. Single copies are $6 (plus $2 for shipping). All proceeds go to the college fund of the author's son.

HEARTVINES is a limited edition chapbook of poetic writings about nature, the seasons, and the author's time spent outdoors with his young son. At times light-hearted, at other times serious, this new chapbook — which is embellished with art and photos from Sturner's family and friends — will take the reader on a journey as only a poet can.

Three of Sturner's previous chapbooks are also available. Each is $4 (includes free shipping).

Wilderness & Love

10 Love Poems

Selected Poems 2004-2007

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I'm not often moved by European Starlings, being troublesome as they are to our native wildlife. But today, considering the extreme weather, all things are equal:

Negative twenty-three degrees. Birds puffed up and deliberate. I watch the feeders from my window, safe, but concerned. What survived the night has a long fight ahead, an ancient struggle as pure as the arctic snow. Today, I harbor no disdain for the non-native starling — that single, disoriented bird I saw fumble across the snow, losing its wild symmetry.

European Starling by Bill Ahlgren

Monday, December 10, 2018

Lord Dunsany book review

Issue 11 of THE GREEN BOOK is now available. As mentioned in a previous post, this issue contains my review of Lord Dunsany's THE GHOST IN THE CORNER AND OTHER STORIES (edited by S.T. Joshi and Martin Andersson; Hippocampus Press).

Also appearing in this issue are articles by Martin Andersson, Darrell Schweitzer, Mike Carey, and many others.

THE GREEN BOOK is a first-rate journal featuring commentaries, articles, and reviews on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic literature. Click here to order a copy.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Tempering the World's Chaos

Snow rests heavy upon the dim blue landscape, tracing and draping myriad outlines. Branches droop in repose as juncos dash through wild-haired shrubs. The waking mind is coaxed into a slow wandering — silence the treasured vehicle. The serenity placates, perhaps medicates. We inhale what we can of it, for morning quickly smothers the predawn hour. Soon it will heave jewels of sunlight across the white blanket, shrinking blue shadows like summer puddles. Snow drips and falls to the warming wet earth. We begin to stir within the transition, lured by its guiding hand. Soon our thoughts will speed, looping, toward the waking day. Routine will take hold. But before we step too far into the busyness, let us sit, selfishly, with one more cherished thought of a loved one, near or somewhere far; or the soft gray juncos, chasing and chattering like lovers' hearts; or a path along a bookshelf, all those soul-building stories and poems; or something else, anything else, to help temper the world's chaos.

Monday, November 5, 2018

In the pitch black of the future...

In the pitch black of the future there materialized a pair of eyes — small, childlike eyes void of the slightest hint of judgment. And they didn't look at me so much as past me, focusing on the present state of things and the goings-on all around. Suddenly I was aware I'd failed to do my best, like so many others in our time (yes, there is progress, but that is not to be dwelled upon when there is so much more at stake). And then those eyes, grown familiar, began to glisten and harden and fade into the lightless beyond. And I was left in silence.

Just a dream? My imagination? It doesn't matter. What matters is the messenger. Because the eyes were those of my son. And they were the eyes of every child alive and every child to come. And if I'm to truly realize the potential of my humanity, to let rise the best version of myself, then I must apply the change that occurred in me at the moment those eyes departed. Because it wasn't just disappointment that I saw in them, it was a smothering of innocence.

And to me, that is unforgivable.

A Smothering of Innocence by Bryan Davis

Friday, March 30, 2018

Pelican photo on local website

One of my digiscoped pelican photos is up on the Kane County Connects website (cool considering I'm not a photographer). Little blurb from me there too. Unfortunately, the birds didn't stick around long.

Click here to visit the website.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book review accepted for publication

My review of THE GHOST IN THE CORNER AND OTHER STORIES by Lord Dunsany (edited by S. T. Joshi and Martin Andersson; Hippocampus Press) has been accepted for inclusion in the next issue of THE GREEN BOOK, a journal dedicated to Irish literature. This is my first professional book review and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write about one of my favorite authors. It will be published in the spring.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"I want to be..."

I want to be that junco on the powdering of snow beneath the pine. I want this cup of hot chocolate to last forever. When I opened the kitchen window a bunch of snowflakes blew in, and one got caught in a spider web. I want to believe in magic; I want to have faith that our plush tomte will keep us safe from harm. The blue-gray days of the season are closing in. I want the strength to slay a waking demon or two. Hope is found in the web of winter stars.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Ca’erpiwah

In the rising warmth of the morning, while playing in the yard, my son Garion found a green caterpillar on the patio table. I offered it my finger — which it grabbed trustingly — and the two of us watched it crawl across my hand as if trying to make sense of the new landscape.

By now Garion was inside the curtain of the moment, trying to make sense, in his own way, of the odd squirt of life in my hand. All the while I told him what I knew of this "baby" insect, not so unlike himself — a small being on a singular quest for food and growth; a life destined to blossom into something amazing.

Time was spent passing the critter between hands of father and son (and once to and from our noses, which is funny for grown-up and toddler alike). I was glad for the opportunity to teach my son something new about nature, and more so for the lesson it afforded in compassion — for we were gentle with the larva, and never addressed it as a lesser thing, or called it "gross" when it pooped on my hand.

When it was time to let the caterpillar go, I carried it over to a nearby tree — the one I assumed it had come from — and carefully placed it on the lichen-encrusted bark. There it crawled into a shadowed furrow and lay still. "It's napping," I said quietly. And Garion, already familiar with naps, and by extension the colorful dreams which shower down upon them, leaned in close to his new friend and whispered, "Good night, ca'erpiwah."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hermit Thrush poem

Hermit Thrush—
So old, so wise; so
rooted in earth’s antiquity
she’s already gone rust
from bottom up.

"Hermit in the park" by Matt MacGillivray
CC license via Wikimedia Commons

First published in the February 2017 issue of through the biKNOXulars, the official newsletter of the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bloom of Gray

Bloom of Gray
for Chloe Viner Collins

Sometimes the day begins
and ends
in a bloom of gray: a static ceiling of clouds,
our minds too paralyzed to imagine the sun.
No colorful birds pass the window,
none pierce the silence with music.
We’re sunk then, you and I,
like stones at the bottom of a sea.
Melancholia dances about us, grabs us
by the hair, grins in our faces.
Tomorrow he may be gone.
But then again, probably not.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Brown Creeper poem

Trying to get back into the groove by writing some short, simple poems. Birds be good subject matter for this. This bird, the Brown Creeper, is a personal favorite. Thanks to Jimmy Tucker for letting me use one of his photos. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Photos featured in new field guide to rare plants

My photos of a Black Oak and a Mead's Milkweed were included a downloadable field guide to the rare plants of Chicago's Calumet region. You can download it for free at

Thursday, October 27, 2016

All the Good of the World

This morning a Hermit Thrush returned to our yard for the season. I heard it — skreee! — as my son Garion set off on a mini-quest for rocks and acorns. A falling leaf—russet, corner-curled, emptied of summer's light—floated soundlessly over G's tiny shoulder. Hands in pockets, I stood listening to the harvest-time voice of my favorite bird, and watched as my son absorbed all the good of the world.

And then it started to rain. Indoor creatures we became, once again: our human habitat within windows and walls, a cozy jungle of wired distractions. But with plenty of toys, books and music, too. More good things of the world!

Outside I imagined the thrush flicking rain off its wings, its body perfumed by a northern forest of hemlock while engaged in a mini-quest for bugs and berries. Though shy, hidden, and non-existent to most, this feathered thing is no less important, or needed, in life. It, too, is part of all the good of the world. Something my little man will one day come to know.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wildflower photo used for book cover

My photo of a rare Mead's Milkweed was used for the cover of Kara Rogers' new book The Quiet Extinction: Stories of North America's Rare and Threatened Plants. Looks like an interesting read.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wildflower photos published in nature magazine

Two of my wildflower photos have been used for an article in the Spring 2016 issue of The Conservationist, a quarterly publication of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (in Illinois). The article, called "Spring Woodland Wildflower Guide," was written by Scott Kobal, an ecologist I know from my days at The Morton Arboretum.

Now is the best time to learn about spring wildflowers, so if you're at all interested in reading the article, visit the following website to get a copy of the magazine. They also have digital versions, which are free.