The Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems
Honored as one of "Nine Great Poetry Books of 2014"—The New Yorker“The Poem She Didn’t Write is a breakup book, full of the kinds of invective and taunts honed by a person who has spent, as all of us have now spent, infinite hours online. Its complex tones arise from the poet’s wanting equally to seduce and to repel a lover whose deepening silence only provokes rhetorical escalation. The effect can be like reading e-mails in someone’s drafts folder—but who wouldn’t want to read Davis’s drafts?"—Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker“Davis’ first full collection in a decade should be stamped with the warning, ‘Buckle up!,’ because entering this writer’s mind is one wild ride of digression, mutation, and syntactical and typographical experimentation… Davis has clearly put the poetic rule book through a shredder, and there’s much to appreciate about that.”—Booklist"There is an eerie precision to her work—like the delicate discernment of a brain surgeon's scalpel—that renders each moment in both its absolute clarity and ultimate transitory fragility."—Rita DoveIn her first full collection in a decade, Olena Kalytiak Davis revivifies language and makes love offerings to her beloved reader. With a heightened post-confessional directness, she addresses lost love, sexual violence, and the confrontations of aging. In her characteristic syntactical play, sly slips of meaning, and all-out feminism, Davis hyperconsciously erases the rulebook in this memorable collection.From "The Poem She Didn't Write":beganwhen she stoppedbegan in winter and, like everything else, at first, just waited for springin spring noticed there were lilac branches, but no desire,no need to talk to any angel, to say: sky, dooryard, _______,when summer arrived there was more, but not muchnothing really worth notingand then it was winter again—nothing had changed: sky, dooryard, ________, white,frozen was the lake and the lagoon, some froze the ocean(now you erase that) (you cross that out)and so on and so forth . . . Olena Kalytiak Davis is a first-generation Ukrainian American who was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Educated at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan Law School, and Vermont College, she is the author of three books of poetry. She currently works as a lawyer in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems Details

TitleThe Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems
Author
ReleaseDec 9th, 2014
PublisherCopper Canyon Press
ISBN-139781556594595
Rating
GenrePoetry

The Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems Review

  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    There's no doubt that Olena Kalytiak Davis is a total badass. I liked most of these poems, but I spent about three-fourths of the book thinking she was a little too enamored of her own coolness. Then I started thinking that her bravado was probably a cover for intense suffering and vulnerability, but frankly, by then I wasn't about to go back and reread everything to test this thesis. So I'll just have to read the whole book again someday. Until then, four stars.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    I grew to know/love some of these poems from Davis' chapbook, On the Kitchen Table... . It is hard to find those fourteen poems thrown about, scattered through out this collection and the new poems. They feel lost when they explode off the page like an old friend once forgotten. These new poems are not weak. These new poems are tough, sarcastic, sensual, and scary. Davis is angy, but laughing. Each playful poem has a mean spirited other waiting around the corner.
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  • Keight
    January 1, 1970
    I imagine if I had a more thorough knowledge of poetry, I would gather more from many of the poems in this book, as there are references I’m missing. At the back Davis apologizes for the “stuff stolen from other stuff.” While there is some quieter moments here and there, overall the book feels forceful. Read more on the booklog
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  • Curtis
    January 1, 1970
    This is the kind of book I might re-read in five years and think that it's brilliant. But, for now it feels sorta hit-or-miss. Favorite poems: Sonnet (seized) Look at Lesbia Now Mean, Manly and Meant Sonnet (stopped) Summer Fiction Sonnet (full-court press)Methow 19:19
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  • Steven Wise
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this collection of poems. Davis describes her daily life, her worries, and her hang-ups in a way that we can all relate to. Somehow Davis makes the everyday moments of her life become explorations of language that poetically reflect on life, death, and love.
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  • Leigh Stein
    January 1, 1970
    Mind-blowing, funny, radical.
  • Wendi Lee
    January 1, 1970
    I had the good fortune of seeing Olena Kalytiak Davis read when I was in grad school. Her poetry was shot through with electricity, and simultaneously playful and provocative. This newer collection of poetry is slightly more tempered, with the weight of time and experience behind it. Kalytiak Davis writes about single motherhood, divorce, old and new lovers, sex, violence, and the painstaking cycle of poem-new poem-new poem. I loved the title poem, "The Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems," wh I had the good fortune of seeing Olena Kalytiak Davis read when I was in grad school. Her poetry was shot through with electricity, and simultaneously playful and provocative. This newer collection of poetry is slightly more tempered, with the weight of time and experience behind it. Kalytiak Davis writes about single motherhood, divorce, old and new lovers, sex, violence, and the painstaking cycle of poem-new poem-new poem. I loved the title poem, "The Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems," where the narrator seems to be stunted in her artistry, and yet somehow a poem slips by anyway, and becomes the focus of many critics throughout the ages.
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  • Dearwassily
    January 1, 1970
    It was so hard for me to get into this that I didn’t.
  • Jillian Owens
    January 1, 1970
    Some poems lost me a little bit, she tends to rant. I loved this element, it made them come alive.
  • Conor Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes (rarely) a book of poems arrives that blows my socks off, to paraphrase and invert a celebrated Emily Dickinson phrase. This is such a book. It would take me at least 2,000 words to begin to do justice to this remarkable collection. (Literary editors please note I can be contacted here or on Twitter: @conorpkelly.) In the meantime I will offer six points of engagement.1: In an era when so much poetry, particularly American poetry, is bland, homogenised, prosaic and sounds as if it is b Sometimes (rarely) a book of poems arrives that blows my socks off, to paraphrase and invert a celebrated Emily Dickinson phrase. This is such a book. It would take me at least 2,000 words to begin to do justice to this remarkable collection. (Literary editors please note I can be contacted here or on Twitter: @conorpkelly.) In the meantime I will offer six points of engagement.1: In an era when so much poetry, particularly American poetry, is bland, homogenised, prosaic and sounds as if it is being spoken by a word-processor rather than by a human being, it is good to hear a voice that is individual, distinctive, emotional and resonant.2: Thematically the book could be said to be unified by a Robert Lowell quote worn on "a tight/T-shirt over my small ignoble breasts reading:/"ALL'S MISALLIANCE." These are poems about misalliance, missed and messed alliances, about love sought and love lost, about sex, including violent sex (there are angry and emotionally complex poems about a "ski-masked rapist in my house") and SEX, capitalised and italicised. They are poems "in the post confessional mode..." owing, perhaps, less to the confessional Lowell of "Life Studies" or the "Notebook" sonnet sequences and more to the Lowell of "Day by Day", which could make an appropriate sub-title for this book.3: Dante provides another literary influence, particularly thematic and purgatorial. My favourite poems are the Francesca sonnets, an amazing reinterpretation of the 5th canto of the Inferno in what Olena Davis might call an ante-purgatorial mode.4: Stylistically the ghost of Gerard Manley Hopkins hovers over these poems in what I could call an anti-thematic manner which could be expressed in the following mathematical proposition:- Hopkins : God and faithfulness : : Davis : man and faithlessness. Imagine Hopkins, not in a dreary 19th century Dublin university working on inscape and instress in his poems, but transported to a bustling 21st century North American city working out something that might be called jazzscape or jazzstress: repetition, syncopated rhythms, riffs and sweeping modulations and you have some idea of the energy of these poems.5: Now for some mild criticism. If the above literary antecedents are seamlessly integrated into the poems, there are many references to contemporary individuals who turn out to be (I had to Google them) poets or artists known to the poet. Coming across them frequently was like being asked to a wild party where I knew no one and ended up sulking in the corner reading the books on the shelves. They were good reads.6: Goodreads is the name of this site and a good read is a book you can return to again and again. This is such a book where "the threshold and the backward glance" are skilfully integrated. Reader, to whom the book is addressed, read it and read it again.Finally, a word of praise to Phil Kovacevich and the Copper Canyon Press for a beautifully designed book. (And no, I am not employed by them; I live in rural France.) The book is not available on Kindle and is all the better for that.
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  • Weston Richey
    January 1, 1970
    I honestly don't have much to say about this book but I did want to make it clear that I don't think it's BAD—rather, I really just think that Davis' style and approach to poetry didn't work very well for me in this collection. She's very honest about very serious and personal subject matter in this collection, which I applaud and think is wonderful—but I just think that her very meta, experimental voice got in the way of the emotional heart of these poems that I could see SOMETIMES, like in "Th I honestly don't have much to say about this book but I did want to make it clear that I don't think it's BAD—rather, I really just think that Davis' style and approach to poetry didn't work very well for me in this collection. She's very honest about very serious and personal subject matter in this collection, which I applaud and think is wonderful—but I just think that her very meta, experimental voice got in the way of the emotional heart of these poems that I could see SOMETIMES, like in "The Lyric 'I'..." but not enough to really enjoy the collection.I think Davis is genuinely a great poet, but for me, this work fell flat a bit, and I really didn't enjoy it with the exception of a poem or two—that's why I'm giving it a 2/5.
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  • Amy Harth
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing! Breath-taking! Poignant yet also funny and heart wrenching and so much more. So worthwhile. I plan to read this again and again. I think it would make an excellent gift for a woman you respect or a man who might enjoy learning more about the thoughts and experiences of a feminist who is both powerful and delicate. Such and intelligent and reflective work!
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  • Miranda
    January 1, 1970
    A lot of great word play but I found it hard to get really into this collection for some reason. It had a lot of tender moments, and I can tell that everything was done for a specific reason, but I can't usually figure it out for myself, which is fine, as it felt like a really personal collection. Very clever and I appreciated the loads of references to other poets/artists.
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  • Philip
    January 1, 1970
    There is so much good in here and so much to be stunned by. The cliche that good work teaches you how to read it is very much at play and more, in that this work teaches me so much about the poetic form itself.
  • Meg Gee
    January 1, 1970
    Ehhh-- clever but very few poems had any emotional resonance for me. Couldn't get into it.
  • Dav
    January 1, 1970
    Stark, clever, precise, fresh and lascivious.
  • Nafiza
    January 1, 1970
    Note to self: Find this in Koerner.
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    yes. yes yes yes. more of this. more of this poets.
  • Aran
    January 1, 1970
    Always returning to ok davis.
  • Elizabeth Powell
    January 1, 1970
    the real thing...read it and weep
  • Kat Heatherington
    January 1, 1970
    i had high hopes for this based on the editorial reviews, but I find Davis's style extremely distancing. most of the pieces feel like instead of engaging directly with the emotional material, she's using stylistic games to keep herself safe from it. there are some great lines here and there, but overall, this is far more pretentious than it is good. a disappointment.
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  • Love
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars - I couldn't even read the title poem, but I liked some of the poems.
  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    Dan Chiasson, in the New Yorker: "Her final poem, a single couplet called “Threshold,” invites us to cross it: “what i should of softly sweetly surely said: / ‘o wingèd boy, come read with me in bed.’ ”http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/201...
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