Davis McCombs was raised in Hart County, Kentucky. He earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from the University of Virginia. His collections of poetry include Ultima Thule (2000), set in the underground world of Mammoth Cave and winner of the Yale Younger Poets Series, and Dismal Rock (2007), winner of a Dorset Prize, an Eric Hoffer Award in Poetry, a Kentucky Literary Award for Poetry, and the Contemporary Poetry Review’s Best Second Book of Poetry for 2007. McCombs is invested in the contours, rhythms, and labors of his native Kentucky, and he has been praised for his careful attention to place in his work. “With infinite patience and luminous particularity, Davis McCombs unearths the traces of those-who-have-passed-before-us through the material world,” noted Dorset Prize judge Linda Gregerson.
McCombs was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and his honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from Poetry, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. He directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arkansas and lives in Arkansas with his wife, the poet and photographer Carolyn Guinzio, and their children.