The Day Lady Died 121

"satirical, scandalous and life-affirming elements in Davidson's poetry co-exist in a happy solution" (42); that happy solution is readily evident in Post Hoc: "nothing in the desert / is left over / even the sand / is an example." Equal parts philosophy and lyric, Davidson's poems make music of their own self-inspection: "between them / difference forms on a slide / like a chair made out of flesh / in the phrase 'I'll think on it.'" ("The Last Word on the Sign" [1990]). Not since Louis zukofsky has an American poet placed such lyric weight upon such a simple preposition: Is the speaker on the chair, thinking, or is the speaker thinking of the chair? Seldom has a final pronoun been so deliciously ambiguous, and yet it shows us how our language supports our every day. Bruce Campbell notes that there is "a fine distinction between poetry (or art) and philosophy, but it is the kind of distinction which can be used" (111). From Discovering Motion (1980) through Analogy of the Ion (1988), Davidson has made a practice of turning such distinctions back upon themselves, demonstrating for readers how that kind of useful practice of poetry might sound.

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