wow and well--and hey forrest and travis--i see that while i have been in fucking TRIAL and trying to buy a fucking HOUSE and practicing spelling lists (SYNAGOGUE) and reading (and suffering from) INDIGNATION with (not from/toward) my CHILDREN --and, yes, Mr. Knott, despite my current lack of poetry um, PRODUCT, i actually do FEEL that i did/was/am doing all those things as a POET and not as a(n underpaid!) (part-time!) lawyer or (underpaidparttime) capitalist (jesus, trying to cash in/out my divorce retirement fund!!!!!!) or even an underpaid FULL TIME mother (well--insert big argument with self/x-husband etc. here), ---you guys have been being talking about stuff that i really like, like music and people saying: "god gave me a gift, motherfucker!"--it all suddenly just makes me wanna pose the question: ARE POETS BAD MOTHERFUCKERS or (k)NOT(t)???????????
forrest and travis? are we living our lives differently? better? or are we just making stupid poetry "moves"? bloggingabout...? WESTON CUTTER? EDWARD HIRSCH? CATE MARVIN? MATTHEW ZAPRUDER? ANDREW ZAWACKI? MICHAEL WIEGERS? NICK FLYNN? JOEL BROUWER? (i have a present for you!) oh KARY WAYSON AND KATHY WHITCOMB: please get off the couch at anthropologie! SUSAN PARR??????? RICK MOODY????? JIM BERHLE--make a joke, please. where are all you guys? o, HEATHER McHUGH! o, MARY RUEFLE. (pointless! doesn't even have a computer!) o, DEAN YOUNG and MARK HALLIDAY! (and, i so wish, ALLEN GROSSMAN!) FRANZ WRIGHT! DAVID RIVARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (still trying, (lost) friend). speak to me! tell me. what are "we" doing? are "we" doing "anything"? is this a matter of life? i need to know. no, really. please.

and,: i know, i know. but right now this "poet" needs to EAT. i will tell you exactly what i think....sometime next week!

Originally Published: September 26th, 2008

A first-generation Ukrainian American, Olena Kalytiak Davis grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan Law School, and Vermont College. Davis’s poetry collections include And Her Soul Out of Nothing (1997), selected by Rita Dove for the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, shattered sonnets,...

  1. September 26, 2008
     Travis Nichols

    Olena, you are one bad motherfucker. And you are a poet. Ergo: Ride the snake.

  2. September 26, 2008
     Kent Johnson

    I think your question is a very important one ("Are Poets Bad Motherfuckers?????????").
    You ask a list of fellow-famous poets to answer the question, so I won't try, myself.
    But I did want to ask you, since you are a lawyer, Do you happen to know my cousin Brooks Chandler????????? He's a lawyer, too, livign in Girdwood, though he goes everywhere, flying around on float planes alot, including to Nome, where he is the City Attorney. I ask because I know that probably every attorney in the Anchorage region knows every other attorney. And that would be amazing, and you would know my cousin, with whom I lived for a year in Waterville, Maine, where I first read Bill Knott, back when he was famous, and called himself Saint Gerard!
    So, just out of curiosity: Do you happen to know my cousin?????????

  3. September 26, 2008
     noah freed

    hey i think i could blog for poetry foundation.

  4. September 27, 2008

    I think Olena should run for governor of Alaska.

  5. September 27, 2008

    Hmmm.. So, does the Poetry Foundation pay bloggers per post or a flat rate?

  6. September 27, 2008
     Reader of Soul Patches

    Hey NEG (and what's with the acronym thing? Is it like identity branding? Good stuff),
    If you were mentioned in the list, would you post the snide comment? Why the passive aggressive post? Why not take it a bit further, spell out your problems with it?
    Looking forward to your follow up,
    Reader of Soul Patches

  7. September 27, 2008
     Henry Gould

    Who cares what poets "are"? Do chess players emote & obsess over their personal identity? No, what counts is the chess.
    I think I get more out of poetry measurable by a ratio of its distance from Reality TV.
    I think one aspect of poetry is that it lifts the ordinary language we speak toward awareness. It's not about being culturally hip or cool, in my book : it's about understanding, awareness.

  8. September 27, 2008

    noah and neg, not sure what anything or you mean(s), or if you guys are poets or readers or lawyers or plumbers or part time models, but i assume you think a entry by a "poet" or worthy of pay is something different than the above? noah, how/what would your entry read? neg, what is valuable to you? i.e. i'm curious: what do you want your poets to look like and speak to. please expound. olena

  9. September 27, 2008

    kent--the question is, most certainly, not restricted to poets. and/but, no, i have not had the pleasure of meeting your cousin. i really don't hang with the lawyers. thanks for not ridiculing my query (believe me i do enough of that for myself), olena

  10. September 27, 2008
     noah freed

    Is our poets learning to read?

  11. September 27, 2008
     Gary B. Fitzgerald

    "fucking" ridiculous.

  12. September 28, 2008

    are you flarf?

  13. September 29, 2008

    I was making a joke about this post being a cliffhanger, that’s all…I’d be happy to explain in a more robust fashion for a small fee…

  14. September 29, 2008

    hey olena,
    i play chess and i emote about it all the time.
    i care what poets are. i think it's natural for a poet (some kind of disenfranchised by the very nature of the art he/she practices) to question place and motive and self. maybe not for you, henry, (respectfully, i am saying this. the web doesn't translate text tone) but for me, it is a natural thing. i think about it every day. i question it every day. i am worrying about it right now. i have to struggle for it.
    keep up the good work olena, they asked you to write, not one of these other 'bad motherfuckers,' and your posts are interesting engaging electric. they make me sit up straight and check my socks for electrodes.

  15. September 29, 2008
     Kent Johnson

    I'm wondering why Olena K. Davis's post seems to annoy so? Is it because it lacks the proper "decorum"? What is that decorum? Who says poets can't be sardonically named? What's the dress code at the soiree, for mainstream and post-avant alike? (See also Javier Huerta's post on language protocol above it, partly inspired, I'm supposing, by Davis's.)
    I found the post rather thrilling, and poet or not, I hope there'll be more of the kind.
    Poesia! Mas maldicion, y menos precaucion!

  16. September 29, 2008
     Brian Salchert

    I'm a dibbing and dabbing
    feather swuufer
    and all my badass m--f-- poems
    are offline.

  17. September 29, 2008

    In a world of text messaging, Twittering, Facebook, and too-tiny QWERTY keyboards on PDAs, the style of Oleana's posts really shouldn't cause too much head-scratching among the literati.

  18. September 29, 2008
     Marty Elwell

    Olena - Great post! It's only missing line breaks.
    and,: i know, i know. but right now this "poet" needs to EAT.
    i will tell you exactly what i think....sometime next week!
    There's fucking music in this post!
    Also, thanks for asking what poets are (lawyers, insurance geeks, divorced, editors, teachers, retired, anthropologists, criminals, soldiers, professors, etc...etc...etc...), rather than going with the same old stereotype.
    I don't pretend to be of the same caliber of the poets on your list, but I like your kick-in-the-ass approach to getting some thought around what folks are doing with their poetry.

  19. September 29, 2008
     Javier Huerta

    It's good to see people defending Olena's post. Though, I do think Olena does just fine defending it herself.
    Kent is right, about my post being partly inspired by Olena's. I was actually thinking about bad words in poetry ever since I read the one bad word I use in front of a group of high school students. They reacted, well, like high school students. I really didn't know if we could use those words in this forum, and, I was even going to email Nick to ask about it. So Olena's post was liberating.

  20. September 30, 2008
     Joel Brouwer

    Where is my present.