Scrimmage of Appetite
University of Akron Press
If Walt Whitman had come back to face America at the end of the 20th Century, these are the poems he might have written. Whether adapting the long Whitmanian line, reinventing the prose poem, or alternating lyric and prose meditations, Jon Davis has taken the measure of these times and found a world where virtue has been devoured by appetite, where the private and familial have been invaded by the tawdry, the commercial, and the vicious, as if our lives were hotwired to our television sets, our minds crackling with the loose electricity of an experiment gone wrong. In poems that are ambitious and political without being sententious or partisan, Davis turns to the power of words for a way to reconcile the irreconcilable, praising language as a rich, entangled, and inexhaustible source of solace and meaning. With Scrimmage of Appetite, Jon davis has fulfilled Wallace Stevens's image of a poet
merciless / To accomplish the truth in his intelligence.