Michael Davidson’s first collection in twelve years represents the best of his forty-year career. Using the page as a plane for working out aesthetic problems, and engaging the reader’s intellect and love of beauty, Davidson poems are a kind of battleground, where larger philosophical questions are grappled with through the sieve of language and form.
Ghost texts—the overheard conversation, the remembered line, the daily paper—clamor to enter the poems in Michael Davidson’s Bleed Through. Here, the page is a plane for working out aesthetic problems, engaging the reader’s intellect and love of beauty. Each new word or phrase calls forth another; attentions create their own nimbus of associations. Davidson’s poems are a kind of battleground, where larger philosophical questions are grappled with through the sieve of language and form, but they are also a response to the vital use people make of everyday speech. Faced with hearing loss, he questions the acoustical models—voice, ear, rhyme, rhythm, text—upon which poetry depends and takes as his subject the problems and questions of our cultural history.
“Michael Davidson’s poetry has always been a push-pull experience between total courage and exacting care, as if a fine Swiss watchmaker had suddenly taken up skydiving. It’s a heady ride, dedicated at once to both risk & precision, and the pleasures of vertigo, thrill, speed, and terror are never very far. At the end of it, you find yourself surprised at how quiet it all was, up there in the clouds, or just how solid the ground now feels. Bleed Through is a book we have needed for a very long time. What a joy to have it in hand.” —Ron Silliman
“Michael Davidson refuses to treat history, philosophy, and the lives we live as separate phenomena. The language of intimate experience interrupts that of public atmospheres and vice versa. Heavens and aprons “slightly melt” into each other; Kant is at the mall, while our leaders eat cereal. These poems—many from rare and out of print books—converse as lucid shocks under a critical sun.” —Jena Osman
“Across a lifetime in poetry, Michael Davidson has plumbed the relationship between the ordinary and the uncanny, and the timeless and the timelessly amusing, within this all-too-mortal coil. His welcome ‘new and selected’ is rich with those swift turns and exploratory revelations poetry, at its most dynamic, is singularly designed to offer. It is a pleasure indeed to hail his accomplishment.” —Michael Palmer
“Davidson has created in Bleed Througha beautiful balance between vulnerability, wit, and critique that is utterly entertaining and insightful.” —Arcadia Magazine
From The Second City
in the second city
I live out the dream of the first
living neither for its access and glamour
nor dying from its disregard
simply talking towards the twin spires
of an ancient cathedral
like a person becoming like a person