Late Summer Ode

Olena Kalytiak Davis

In Late Summer Ode, Olena Kalytiak Davis writes from a heightened state of ambivalence, perched between past and present tensions. With Chekovian humor and metered pathos, from a garden in Anchorage not pining for Brooklyn, these poems “self -protest, -process, -recede.” Davis is a conductor of sound and meaning, precise to the syllable: a commanding talent in contemporary poetry.

ISBN: 9781556596476

Format: Paperback

Here You Are

at natural pantry i discuss myself
while someone else’s spit falls precisely on me
while the vegetables wait for me
while the vegetables wait

i could have been a contender
i will buy this little watermelon for my daughter
in coblenz in coblenz

the bends that’s what i got each time it tried
to go forward to ride it out power through
i shall send you a paper bag full of sonnets
sometime to prove how everything everything is true

About the Author

Olena Kalytiak Davis, a first-generation Ukrainian-American, was born and raised in Detroit and educated at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan Law School, and Vermont College. She is the author of four full-length collections. Her first book, And Her Soul Out Of Nothing (University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), received the Brittingham Prize. Kalytiak Davis’s honors also include a Rona Jaffe Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Guggenheim. Kalytiak Davis lives in Anchorage and Brooklyn.

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“As her fans know, Davis does not specialize in neat and tidy books. Some of her most memorable poems, such as ‘Francesca Says Too Much’ and ‘Francesca Says More’ and ‘Palimpsest,’ convey romantic attraction and abandon with a messy, you-are-there intimacy that seems to push written language beyond its usual borders and into the realm of sensation and sound. She delights in disorder, or she seems to, although when you pay close attention to her work, particularly her sonnets, you find a swing of metrical precision that calls to mind the Metaphysical and Cavalier poets of the 17th century. It’s this balance of rigidity, rhyme and ruin that makes an Olena Kalytiak Davis poem extraordinarily distinct.” —New York Times

“The balance of rigidity, rhyme and ruin . . . makes an Olena Kalytiak Davis poem extraordinarily distinct. Even when she’s alluding to Dante and Rilke and Chekhov, her voice is like no one else’s.”—New York Times, Editors’ Choice

“Defined by contradiction and balanced between past and present, these poems explore selfhood and place.” —Publishers Weekly

“The lavish latest from Davis delivers poems of spitfire erudition. The sonnet form, rambunctiously reimagined, continues to be the poet’s favored, and few writing in English today do it as well as she: ‘the right words in the right order/ by instinct if you’re lucky.’ With characteristically unfailing aim, the poet outsmarts her own expressions of dread, regret, nostalgia, and ‘joie de death’. . . . “Readers will revel in poems at once astringent and salacious.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In her fourth poetry collection, Olena Kalytiak Davis, of Anchorage and Brooklyn, New York, has established herself as a major American poet. . . . a great pleasure in the book comes from its lyrical artistry—the way the words play upon one another and the lines form patterns and disruptions of patterns.” —Anchorage Daily News