The Arcades

By Michael Davidson


O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Leslie Scalapino
Design by Guy Bennett
Edition, Year
First Edition, 1998
In Print

In The Arcades, Davidson juxtaposes the imaginary ideal against the “junk” of contemporary culture, the Romantic dream of the exotic with a contemporary world filled with cheap materiality. The Arcades is a beautiful and lyrical volume of poetry, just as it is gritty and honest about our declining civilization.

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson is director of the Archive for New Poetry at University of California in San Diego. He is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Landing of Rochambeau (Burning Deck, 1985) ... Read More

I wish I knew what “non-evental being” means since I suspect this is where I could talk about states of consciousness or transcendence. If that’s what this implies then I might say that I spend a lot more time in the non-event realm wishing for more events. When I was younger I took the body for granted; it was just “there” and would always supply the same predictable access to the world. Because it was eternal, it could be abused more generously. As I’ve gotten older, my body seems to be approaching the condition of one of Beckett’s characters (Molloy or Malone) where gradual decrepitude is accompanied by a search for more accommodating prostheses. One doesn’t despair; one simply adapts.

— Interview with Michael Davidson at The New Inquiry


Praise for The Arcades

From deep within the belly of the beast, where desire and denial dance, where M. Capital and Mme. Earth ghostwalk together and the Angel of History has shed its wings, Michael Davidson has fashioned a work of extraordinary wit, human insight and verbal invention. The game’s afoot, the screw is loose, buy two.

— Michael Palmer

“Great Architecture,” Emerson tells us, “is the flowering of geometry.” But what geometry flowers in a mall? Michael Davidson’s arcadia is a millenarian penmanship, a graphing of the crawlspaces that connect commerce with the new boulevards that “form in the mind.” The first arcade is that vault of “silent typing” where dark sounds are “gurgling in the canal.” Michael Davidson is an architect of our attention, a geometer of sound stanzas.

— Aldon Lynn Nielson

War, commodities, and the body link together this often intensely autobiographical series of poems. Michael Davidson’s most recent collection represents a stunning exploration of the uneasy relation between public and private, pain and pleasure, in our puzzled and puzzling end of the millennium culture. 

— Susan Howe

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