Consolation Miracle

Publication Date: October, 2003 | Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry

Consolation Miracle is a book of visceral, image-driven poems that search for the miraculous in the seemingly ordinary. This collection fashions art out of artless objects as a consolation, or perhaps compensation, for their smallness. Yawns and pears, cockroaches and crows resonate against historically conflated backdrops, while our own hands seem suddenly strange as they hide themselves in our pockets, balance a burning cigarette between two fingers, or grip the gun that shot Lincoln. Other poems address the destruction of empire, the end of old Hollywood, and the hyperbolic fizzling out of entire centuries. Here, consolation miracles are rarely the ones sought after, yet they radiate in their neglect. Davidson’s poems help us understand the inner life of cows, imagine the plight of a banished Kama Sutra illustrator, speculate about Cleopatra’s lingerie. With a title borrowed from Gabriel García Márquez, Consolation Miracle contains a magical realism for the twenty-first century.

Editorial Reviews

“Chad Davidson is a poet of brilliant, unanticipated mixtures: a postmodernist who cares deeply for grace and clarity; an odemaker with a penchant for the epigrammatic; a philosopher of both gravitas and levity. His elegantly crafted surfaces never mask character or abbreviate temperament. Davidson means to bring the whole person to the page. Consolation Miracle announces a poet that I look forward to reading for years.”—Rodney Jones, author of Kingdom of the Instant and Elegy for the Southern Drawl

“Once in a very great while a first book comes along that seems to defy all expectations, that surprises and delights with that rare combination: a lively verbal wit and musical and visual precision coupled with a maturity of vision and meditative grace. Chad Davidson's Consolation Miracle is just such a book, a bag of jewels, poems both finely cut and sparkling with imaginative fire. Surely he is one of the most resourceful, supple, and soulful young poets writing today.”

—Bruce Bond, author of The Throats of Narcissus and Radiography

“Reading each poem in Consolation Miracle is like watching a seine net pulled onto the beach at sunrise: the arc of poetry revealing its haul, one by one, and then suddenly, a multitude of sleek, puffing, shiny things full of fear and trembling. The tight curtail sonnets, ‘Almost Ending with a Troubadour Line’ and ‘The Match,’ are every bit as beguiling as the longer, meditative lyrics, ‘All the Ashtrays in Rome’ and ‘Cleopatra’s Bra.’ And the longest poem in Davidson’s striking first collection, ‘Space,’ stakes its claim as one of the benchmark long lyrics for the new century.”—Ruth Stone, author of In the Next Galaxy and Ordinary Words

“Chad Davidson exults in the pleasures of the tongue, the eye, and the mind. He is a poet who delights, surprises, challenges, and seduces. The poems of Consolation Miracle are poems I just can’t say no to—I want to come back to them again and again, immersing myself in the deft and variegated worlds this poet creates.”—Allison Joseph, author of Soul Train and In Every Seam

“Such a graceful marriage of form and lyric experiment that it’s hard to believe Consolation Miracle is a debut. It houses a diction and aesthetic so ambitious, and successfully ambitious, that it is an even greater wonder that most of Davidson’s subjects—a starfish, the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets, Cleopatra’s Bra—could fit tidily into a sock drawer.”—Austin Hummell, author of Poppy and The Fugitive Kind

“In the title poem of his brilliant first book, Consolation Miracle, Chad Davidson speaks of ‘moonshine swelling in goat bladders, the slender/ throats of Coke bottles, as if gods too thirsted /for the real thing.’ Certainly, in a world where language at the hands of the media and the State is bastardized around the clock, we mere humans thirst for the real thing, language that does not lie, and so here it is, shaped into those miraculous embodiments of authentic Being called poems—and in Davidson’s hands, much more than a consolation: a triumph.”

—B. H. Fairchild, author of Usher and Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest and The Art of Lathe