The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems

Olena Kalytiak Davis

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. Dan Chiasson’s review for The New Yorker ends with thoughts about loneliness: “The medium of poetry isn’t language, really; it’s human loneliness, a loneliness that poets, having received it themselves from earlier poets, transfer to their readers.”

After Grass and Long Knives

Suspect enthusiasm—
having eaten pins before—
but that’s what keeps one
quiet, that’s what makes one

stay. Empty is just the first
temporal name
after something smaller sat there is gone.

Then that space
regains its height and wild.

Let let lovers be
light thoughts, just touch
remembered in some not unkind way.

It was all fine.
It was all right.

And now what’s next is
clerestory:

wait become place — and not a cowardly one—
like in some great house made of purest plank,
place to pause, place to be welcomed.