Associated with the Fugitives and Southern Agrarians, poet Donald (Grady) Davidson was born in Tennessee and earned both a BA and an MA from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Davidson published five collections of poetry The Outland Piper (1924), The Tall Man (1927), Lee in the Mountains and Other Poems (1938), The Long Street: Poems (1961), and Collected Poems: 1922–1961 (1966).

In the 1920s, Davidson co-founded and co-edited the influential journal The Fugitive. His prose writings include an essay in I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930); a collection, Still Rebels, Still Yankees and Other Essays (1957); and Southern Writers in the Modern World (1958), which he first delivered as a lecture at Mercer University in Georgia. Davidson wrote a two-volume history of Tennessee, The Tennessee Volume One: The Old River: Frontier to Secession (1946) and The Tennessee Volume Two: The New River: Civil War to TVA (1948).

Davidson taught English at Vanderbilt University from 1920 to 1968. He spent summers teaching at the Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont.