The Last Predicta
Publication Date: October 2008 | Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
The Last Predicta is Chad Davidson's searing collection of poetry dedicated to endings of all varieties. From odes to the corporate cornucopia of Target and the aggressive cheer of a Carnival cruise, to emotive examinations of Caravaggio's The Calling of St. Matthew or flies circling a putrescent bowl of forgotten fruit, Davidson weaves a lyrical web of apocalyptic scenarios and snapshots of pop culture. Throughout the volume appear cataclysms large and small, whether the finality of a minute passed or the deaths of a thousand swans at Seneca Lake in 1912. Images of King Kong, Starburst candies, and the Brady Bunch swim with mythological figures, Roman heroes, and dead animals as Davidson deftly explores the relationship between the mundane and the profound. At the center of the collection sits the Predicta television itself, "the lives blooming there in Technicolor," at once futuristic and nostalgic in its space age prophecy.
Moving in their very simplicity, these poems resonate with discoveries that belie their seemingly ordinary wellsprings. Chad Davidson's stunning collection repeatedly explores the moment of revelation and all its accompanying aftermaths. The Last Predicta leads readers to ponder all manner of predictions, endings, and everything that follows.
"Chad Davidson’s beguiling poetry sweet-talks us as well as it bites. His is both the charm of a poet who can fit everything from NASCAR to Caravaggio on his silver tongue, and the despair of a poet who’s “seen the moon open its hinges like a jaw and shut. Shut up. Shut down.” These poems are sharp enough to cut through the din of our lives and burnished enough to cast an exuberant light on us while doing it."—Terrance Hayes, author of Lighthead and Wind in a Box
"With The Last Predicta Chad Davidson continues his war against the bland and predictable by conjuring an exotic alternate world of intellectual daring, wit, and verbal brilliance. He possesses the rarest sort of imagination, able to locate subterranean connections among the most disparate fragments of ordinary life, to identify the spirit's secret survival even in the blinding light and shallow recesses of contemporary experience. What we want from art is the life within life, and these poems take us there."—B. H. Fairchild, author of Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest and The Art of the Lathe
“These poems cover great distances, both literal and figurative, as Davidson searches for value among ‘the slogans of the dispossessed.’ ‘Was there never the remotest chance/of becoming purer’ he asks, a question that drives the book’s inquisition of American culture. While the question is never answered, it seems to me posed, again and again, by the poet’s clear desire to see to the inside of things, in fluid lines that draw me into the rhythm of Davidson’s expansive vision.”—Bob Hicok, author of This Clumsy Living and Animal Soul
“The Last Predicta is like a broadcast from The End of something: a culture, a time, a language, a world. This one. If the picture seems to roll, it’s our eyes, our brains, straining to keep up with Chad Davidson’s madcap velocity, the mordant blur all the world is washed in. ‘This is weird,’ one poem suggests, and any apocalypse would be, but in Chad Davidson readers could hope for no better guide.”—Paul M. Guest, author of My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge and Notes for My Body Double
"In The Last Predicta, Chad Davidson imagines a shopping list for the Apocalypse—only to reveal that our cupboards are already fully stocked: “low-sodium transubstantiation,” “the Milano-style whatnot,” a “Golden-Clad Something Nice,” and the strangely Greek “augur of instant replay.” The shoppers cum lovers in these poems—dressed in “desire’s burrs and foxtails”—visit Target, Tokyo, Rome, Gold’s Gym, and the late night nature shows on television, where they find, ultimately, “the silent spreading/ ocean’s black pajamas, saying, Nighty-night, nighty-night.”—Angie Estes, author of Chez Nous and Tryst