Olena Kalytiak Davis


A first-generation Ukrainian-American, Olena Kalytiak Davis was born on September 16, 1963, in Detroit, Michigan. She was educated at Wayne State University, University of Michigan Law School, and Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Her first collection of poetry, And Her Soul Out of Nothing (University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), was selected by Rita Dove for the 1997 Brittingham Prize. She is also the author of Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities (Tin House, 2003), On the Kitchen Table From Which Everything Has Been Hastily Removed (Hollyridge Press, 2009), and The Poem She Didn't Write and Other Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2014).

Davis has become known for transgressing social boundaries. Ira Sadoff has written about her reinvention of the confessional tone: "Her objective is to emphasize literature's experiential function: to enlarge consciousness, to make literature emotionally and intellectually applicable to the self. The work's smart, alternately witty, disagreeable, and moving; the resultant poems seem entirely intimate, but also gather the concerns of the age while employing a variety of poetic modes and linguistic practices....Above all, innovation aside, her poems bristle with a love of texture and the exploratory, substantive implications of language as emotional expression."

Davis is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rasumon Fellowship, the 1996 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, a Pushcart Prize, and several grants from the Alaska and Juneau Arts Councils. She lives and practices law in Anchorage, Alaska. Source

SONNET (stopped)

hey baby–good morning/evening/morrow/night–

i awoke to burning wet purple leaves

and a wet roof blue light. you are not here–

but you are somewhere–in your t-shirt: tight and bright.



count, note, these rhymed lines that do not

break. count

on me i’ll come around again: like clockwork:

every twenty minutes: stop and stop.

like this, again and again; again! take


me, never give (me) up. we are each’s

other: the ultimate double entendre and

someday these words will still be lit on fire

in some tattered book washed up upon some beach.


don’t ask the cost; (for now) i give this [  ] for free:

i live to give you more than you give me. 





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times


A poem with fourteen lines that traditionally uses a fixed rhyme scheme and meter.