Davis, Leigh

Davis, Leigh

In Brief

Leigh Davis is a poet, artist and publisher. Davis’s first book, Willy’s Gazette (1983), won the Best NZ First Book of Poetry Award. He has also published widely as a critic. Davis’ publishing ventures and editorial positions have cemented his reputation as a leading public intellectual. Davis describes his work as, ‘Book length contemporary poems which engage their physical media (books, textiles, web) as ideas in the work.’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Davis, Leigh (1955-2009) is a poet, a critic, an artist and a publisher.

Davis was born in Wanganui. He attended Auckland University where he completed an MA First Class Hons in English. He went on to study at Victoria University of Wellington where he took numerous graduate papers including, economics, mathematics, and commercial law.

Since the early 1980s Davis has been a high profile businessman and merchant banker. He has worked in both the public and private sectors before going on to start JUMP - his management company.

Davis’s first book Willy’s Gazette (1983) won the Best NZ First Book of Poetry Award. Willy’s Gazette as well as co-editing the magazine AND with Alex Calder and Roger Horrocks from 1983 to 1985 established Davis as a leading avant-garde artist and public intellectual.

Late in the 1990s Davis returned to art/publishing with Station of Earth-Bound Ghosts (1998) an installation of flags (writing and visual art). Davis went on to publish Te Tangi a te Matuhi (1999) with Jack Books, another Davis project. Jack Books added their web site www.jackbooks.com in 2000 with the publication of General Motors a collection of poetry and visual art that is available as both a physical and virtual book.

In 2001 Jack Books published The Book of Hours, a trilogy that is available as both a physical and virtual book. Last year David’s poem ‘The Footstool’ from the General Motors collection was selected for the Best New Zealand Poems 2001.

Leigh Davis has published widely as a critic. His essays on art and letters have appeared in Landfall, ArtAsia Pacific, and Brief Description. He has also contributed to art ventures and promotions including public lectures on art and poetry, as well as participating in the Bad Language Series (with Artspace) in 2001.

Davis describes his work as 'Book length contemporary poems which engage their physical media (books, textiles, web) as ideas in the work.'

Sadly, Leigh Davis passed away in October 2009. This was immediately prior to winning the 2009 Kathleen Grattan Award for the manuscript Stunning Debut of the Repairing of a life, to be published by Otago University Press in 2010.

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated January 2017.