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Dave Mason: ‘Fated’ to Write ‘Davey McGravy’

Colorado College English Professor David Mason '78, the author of numerous books of poetry and the verse-novel "Ludlow," has published his first book for children. "Davey McGravy" tells the story of Davey, who lives with his father and two brothers, but mourns his absent mother.

Mason tells the reader that "Davey was a plucky lad - lad was a word they used in the faraway of Davey's dreams, the place of giant trees and rainy forests." Although he's plucky, Davey still wanders his way through grief, caught between his forest world and daily existence. The middle child, Davey has a big brother who "hated the day Davey was born" and a younger brother who was "not happy Davey got there before."

"The book now seems to me a true psychological allegory, perhaps even a religious one, and the telling of Davey's story took me to places I could never have traveled by other means," said Mason, Colorado's poet laureate from 2010-14. Mason recently was interviewed by Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio about the book. To hear Mason read an excerpt, click on the lower book cover photo here. Mason also will read from the book at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 26 in Gates Common Room, located on the third floor of Palmer Hall.

Mason, who always wanted to write a children's book, said this one came to him out of the blue. "My Australian wife gives everyone she knows a nickname, and one day, hiking in Colorado, she asked me if I had ever been given one," Mason said. "I answered that my father had once called me 'Davey McGravy' as he ruffled my hair. She stopped dead in her tracks, turned and stared at me: 'That's who you are. You're Davey McGravy. That's your real identity!' She saw immediately that it was already a book - and I was fated to write it."

Mason said as he wrote, he didn't think about writing only for children, and he didn't think there was any subject matter he needed to avoid. "I decided the storyteller was a child reading to a parent or a parent reading to a child, and that Davey was a boy who had suffered a tremendous loss. When his father gives him the rhyming name, it works a kind of magic. Davey begins to see rhymes - correspondences - everywhere in nature, even in those parts of nature we find in the shopping mall and in school."

The book is illustrated with etchings by Grant Silverstein and published by Paul Dry Books, Inc.

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