In an environment in which so many seem to steer their sculls between appointed lines, Peter Davis’s poems motorboat back and forth across poetry currents – satirically, yes, but also intelligently, self aware, and shrewdly critical. Davis’s brilliantly bizarre 2006 book, Hitler’s Mustache (Barnwood Press [https://www.bsu.edu/classes/koontz/barnwood]), both parodies and plays homage to precursors as varied as Frank O’’Hara, Robert Bly, and Russell Edson; tests the limits of traditional form (haiku, sestinas, and the Blues, for example); and isn’t afraid to act unassumingly goofy, putting, in the words of Amy Gerstler, "the id through a juicer." His new work tackles assumptions not of the canon, but of the writing process itself. The awkwardly plain, self-conscious tone is both startlingly ironic and subtly perceptive. Peter’s poems make me laugh aloud or shake my head, wondering how and where he unearths their chutzpah! The poem below originally appeared in Coconut 11 (https://www.coconutpoetry.org/cover11.htm). Behold its metatextuality! We do reassure you, O poem! The Best American Poetry has stumbled across you after all & reproduces you here lovingly, albeit virtually! We all wish you, O poem, a very happy tenure-line!
-- Bruce Covey
Poem that Begs for Reassurance
My experience with the world around me is that I either feel it's awful, or I feel that it is great. Right now I feel like this poem is awful. I feel like I am awful. I feel like an outcast in the literary world. Nobody reviews my work. As far as I can tell, nobody really talks about me. They do, but it's never enough. I'm not besieged with e-mails soliciting my poetry. I keep waiting for something to happen. I mean, this is a good poem. Other people seem to have so much going on. I read their bio notes and think, "Well, jeez, how do they all do it?" I say to my wife, "Honey, I always feel a few steps behind. How can I do all of that in this poem?" Some of them maintain blogs with numerous links and a lot of daily hits. Others don't even have blogs! All around me poets are winning prizes and being included in anthologies like The Best American Poetry. Some at very young ages. Some of these people, if they don't already have tenure-line teaching positions, are very strong candidates for tenure-line teaching positions.
– Peter Davis