Michael Davidson (born December 18, 1944 in Oakland, California) is an American poet.

Life and work

Davidson has written eight books of poetry as well as numerous historical, cultural and critical works. He has been affiliated with the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) since 1974 and as a professor of American literature since 1988 with areas of study and research in Modern Poetry, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, and Disability Studies.

Davidson served as the first curator of the Mandeville Department of Special Collections (UCSD) where the George Oppen papers are stored. The Archive for New Poetry [1] is now a major campus, community and international resource for studying post-1945 English-language poetry, and is one of the four largest American poetry collections in the U.S. The archive contains holdings that emphasize the ongoing “countertradition” in recent American writing – particularly the Objectivist poets, the Black Mountain poets, the San Francisco Renaissance, the New York School, and the Language School.

Davidson, who recently became Deaf, has written extensively on disability issues, most recently "Hearing Things: The Scandal of Speech in Deaf Performance," in Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities, "Phantom Limbs: Film Noir and the Disabled Body," GLQ 9:1-2 (2003), and "Strange Blood: Hemophobia and the Unexplored Boundaries of Queer Nation," in Beyond the Boundary: Reconstructing Cultural Identity in a Multicultural Context. A collection of essays on disability was published as Concerto for the Left Hand: Disability and the Defamiliar Body (University of Michigan).[2] Another recent critical work, On the Outskirts of Form: Practicing Cultural Poetics, was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press. This latter book gathered his essays concerning formally innovative poetry from modernists such as Mina Loy, George Oppen, and Wallace Stevens to current practitioners such as Cristina Rivera-Garza, Heriberto Yépez, Lisa Robertson, and Mark Nowak.[3]

In addition to being a widely published poet and poetry editor (he is represented in the 2004 edition of Best American Poetry by a poem entitled "Bad Modernism"), Davidson is known for insightful literary criticism, his work in disability studies, and for the meticulous editing of the monumental George Oppen, New Collected Poems.

Selected publications





  1. ^ "Archive for New Poetry". Libraries.ucsd.edu. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  2. ^ "Concerto for the Left Hand: Disability and the Defamiliar Body". Press.umich.edu. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2014-04-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)