In her first full-length collection in a decade, Olena Kalytiak Davis interrogates the possibilities of language and poetic thought in a heightened, hyperfeminist, postconfessional, lyrical cliff dive. Named by The New Yorker as one of the best books of the year, The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems boldly implicates readers in the act(s) of the book, casting us simultaneously as voyeur, antagonist, and beloved confidant. No subject matter is spared by Davis’s gaze—lost romance, literary criticism, sexual violence and provocation, parenthood, the female body—as meaning slips and accusations fly. The poet names names and confiscates pronominal identities, while sharing the mirror through which she stares us squarely in the eyes.
“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.” —Dan Chiasson, New Yorker
“Davis’s 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.” —Booklist
“While poetry is the language of love, it is also the language of love lost, innocence lost, youth lost, and aspirations unfulfilled. It is a language that Olena Kalytiak Davis has truly mastered in all its simplicity.” —Midwest Book Review