Post Hoc by Michael Davidson 96 pages ISBN 0-939691-04-3 $8.00
Post Hoc is a linked sequence of poems that investigates the specious logic by which an event appears to be caused by a previous event simply because it follows it. "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" ("after this, therefore because of this") is interrogated through poems that are often followed by commentaries, footnotes and addenda. Far from providing a summary or synopsis, these commentaries become new poems which themselves demand further explication. The point is to study the ways that poems build upon repeated elements (rhyme, meter, metaphor, image) while generating entirely new materials. Although the premise may seem to be strictly rhetorical, the larger frame is political insofar as history is always a retrospective function, filtered through tropes, narratives and figures. By creating a poetry that denies simple causality yet which depends on sequence, Post Hoc attempts to gain a critical perspective on the current period while living within its (often paradoxical) terms.
"Davidson may be the subtlest adept around: his wryly arresting command of the false-front patterns of what passes for reason is only outdistanced by his very un-Platonic refusal to deny the poem its always long overdue announcements. Post Hoc is like an axplosion in a logic factory. It's vivid, comic, and disarmingly true to its materials--the world and the words it composes."
-- Charles Bernstein
"The old narrtives of light & dark; the conundrums poetry and the state present one another; isolate letters & numbers; the labyrinths of history cunningly disguised as a story in progress -- Davidson uses these materials to construct a writing wherre minute rhetorical displacements allow glimpses of the slapstick of metaphysics, the consequence & pathos of daily life."
-- Bob Perelman
"From the taut grid of its opening poems to the grand opera of `Analogy of the Ion,' these new poems by Michael Davidson exhibit the most delicate and subtle variations on what, to reverse Hart Crane's phrase, one might call the metaphor of logic. For here is a poetry that takes problems of hermeneutic and epistemology and treats them with the passion and precision one usually associates with the Romantic lyric. To treat language with respects: this, Davidson implies in his exquisite poems, is what poetic pleasure is all about. `Even these lines,' as he puts it in a passage about crowds at the airport, `must be saying something if we can stop them long enough.'"
-- Marjorie Perloff
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