Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shattered Sonnets Love Cards and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities” as Want to Read:
Shattered Sonnets Love Cards and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shattered Sonnets Love Cards and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  229 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In her stunning second collection, poet Olena Kalytiak Davis confirms her reputation as a breathtaking verbal acrobat, a daredevil on the high wire of life and love. Her deeply personal poems echo everything from nursery rhymes to classics, revealing poetry buried in ordinary speech. Whether remonstrating with a former lover or evoking her young children, the poet who reve ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published September 10th 2003 by Bloomsbury USA
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about Shattered Sonnets Love Cards and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kimberly Lambright
Oct 06, 2015 Kimberly Lambright rated it it was amazing
Person interviewing OKD: You use space in many inspired and unique ways. Words run together -- "forgoodisthelifeendingfitandfaithfully." Broken apart -- "Hall /-ucinated." Otherwise altered --"thekingmyfather'swrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrack." How do you make these decisions?

OKD: How do we make any decisions? I mean, in the same way we/I make any decisions. Logic. Aesthetics. Discretion. Permission. Mood. Feelings. Luck. The same way you pick a pink t-shirt over a blue one. Vodka over gin. Free verse ov
Aug 30, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Olena Kalytiak Davis is involved in a torrid love affair. This woman loves words like nobody's business. It's almost frightening. I almost think these poems should be read aloud, not ever just read. It should come with a recording of someone reading them. Davis relies on a lot of rhymes and a lot of variations of words. Occasionally, it's difficult to finish some of these poems, because I spent so much time trying to figure out what she was attempting to stay. By the end of it, though, I kind of ...more
Nicholas Rombes
Nov 20, 2014 Nicholas Rombes rated it it was amazing
In an age of literature that seems to be all about niceness and empathy and sugary confessionalism, I respect Davis's uncompromising blunt-force poetry.

"I pack, unpack my orange streaked,
My freakèd heart. With me I bring
My prosthetic soul. Under the newly dis-astering
Stars I dis-limn, dis-orb, dis-robe."

No wonder Kalytiak operates at the margins. Her poems are toxic, disturbing things, and so very beautiful.
Oct 06, 2015 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Challenging, experimental and often purposefully, maddeningly impenetrable - but brilliant, nonetheless. I have to admit, I love words and sounds nearly as much as Davis seems to, though I'm not nearly so adept at letting them have free reign over my poems (to the point of suspending all sense of both narrative logic and traditional grammar rules) the way Davis does. For that reason, I find many of the poems in this collection incredibly admirable and brave. Not all of them make sense in any coh ...more
Dec 07, 2012 Clif rated it it was amazing
Olena Kalytiak Davis writes with brashness and brio, with chutzpah and word-drunk humor in these free verse sonnets. They are indeed "shattered," and gloriously so. The poems may contain any number of lines and the lines may contain any number of syllables. No 14-line, iambic pentameter Italian or Elizabethan sonnets for her. Davis' rhymes, if and when she employs them, are almost always internal (sometimes deliciously, playfully so). She rarely uses end rhyme, which makes it all the more surpri ...more
Melissa Barrett
Dec 26, 2013 Melissa Barrett rated it it was amazing
I tried to read this book in 2007 and gave up . . . In 2013, I am baffled that I wasn't completely swept off of my feet on my first attempt. This is a brilliantly original book -- lewd, funny, inventive, playful. I wish I wrote it. Here are some favorite lines:

-"My body, which is all Wrack / And screw, Love. All slack and crewel."

-"I pack, unpack my orange streaked, / My freaked heart."

-"I was so weighed down: anchor-hearted, lead-souled."

"the first was a boy with a (volley) ball / he wrote me a
B. Mason
After reading "And Her Soul Out of Nothing" I needed more of Olena Davis. "Shattered Sonnets..." did not disappoint. The poems in this collection carry a similar intensity of content as her first collection but Davis plays a lot more with syntax, grammar, and form. This play with language doesn't communicate the text's inability to communicate, rather, it heightens the desparation of the speaker of the poem to be heard by their addressee (either god, the reader, love, or the speaker themselves).
Nov 06, 2010 Joe added it
Shelves: poetry
I liked a number of poems in the middle. People told me I would. Maybe the way the voice reverses direction line by line. & the whole book has a certain rare propulsiveness, all 125pgs of it. But the first and last sections felt like just screwing around--obligatory setting up and breaking down of themes--devotion, love--wearing the sonnet on the sleeve.

Berrigan references were interesting. Interesting that other clear antecedents were left out--Berryman, cummings.
Apr 12, 2009 Aran rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I wasn't... blown away.. per se. The way she kind of free associates words I find almost annoying, but it's also joyful and illuminating. The only one that I can say I really, really liked is "you art a scholar, horatio, speak to it", which of course i totally love because it's all hamlet-y when they need someone to talk to the ghost. Also, because of the cry and response in it...
E. Adeline
Mar 16, 2016 E. Adeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2016
I love the way Davis plays with language and tone in this collection, and how well-read it is. There are so many fantastic literary/classical references--it's just wonderful. Do recommend!
Molly M M
Oct 20, 2008 Molly M M rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Also grand, and more experimental, but I liked the first better.

I am in possession of an original copy of a poem in her future third book. She signed a new poem for me! I love her.
Jan 28, 2008 Melzanie rated it really liked it
weird, pastiche-ish, slipping from form to non-form to form in a circle, okd challenges what makes poetry good, and really, what makes poetry. again, you rock okd.
Jan 28, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
I really liked this, particularly the poems "sweet reader, flanneled and tulled" and "notes toward the ablation of the soul."
john steven
Apr 05, 2007 john steven rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ryan collins, provocateur and lyricist of las cuatro ciudades
Shelves: poetry, whatmadememe
this book changed my poetic a lot. and led me back to spicer and chaucer.
May 29, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
"You always knew you could not keep god's attention."
Andrea Conarro
Mar 07, 2010 Andrea Conarro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Could I do this? I think I could.
Dec 16, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, forms
Man, is she kooky or what?
Jan 23, 2015 Eva rated it liked it
There's this sense that I have in reading Davis' later work that she intends her writing for a non-audience--if read aloud, these poems lack the revisionary tactics of her idiosyncratic punctuation styles, but if read solely as text without being verbalized the blunt rhymes and alliterations do not have the same force. Perhaps that's the point: Davis has never compromised herself on behalf of literary tradition and has never addressed a collective when she could speak directly to the reader.

Jan 10, 2015 Melissa rated it did not like it
Wow...this one is ...well, I don't quite have the words but I bet OKD would. Verbal acrobatics accurately describes this collection, but those gymnastics got in the way of my ability to connect with these poems. I really wanted to like this, but I abandoned it as each poem started feeling more and more like a struggle to get through and to understand than the one before. Liked "And Her Soul Out of Nothing" much better.
I hesitated to enter this book... then realized my hesitation was because of just how interior, deeply internal, the poems are. They seem to come from the place where language and emotion and memory all blend together.

Some of the poems I loved; others I questioned because the "wordplay" seemed more that -- play -- than the uncensored oomph of most of the book. OVerall, a scary book, and darkly funny, and very good.
Malcolm Alexander
Jul 24, 2008 Malcolm Alexander rated it liked it
Some cool stuff if you like somewhat "experimental" poetry. The author seems like she'd be a fun person to hang out with, though, judging from her sensibilities and style.
Oct 17, 2007 Lacey rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Hmmmph. This book was okay, but it didn't change my life the way And Her Soul Out of Nothing did - the language is very playful and I can appreciate that, but...but.
Danielle DeTiberus
Jul 29, 2008 Danielle DeTiberus rated it it was ok
I have to say that I was disappointed. However, it was worth the read. Some lovely poems. Davis is still a wild poetess that I want to share a drink with.
Jan 27, 2016 Liza added it
i loved this emotionally, esp "sweet reader, flanneled and tulled"
Jun 15, 2009 Bethany rated it liked it
this was not my fav. book
Valorie is currently reading it
Sep 23, 2016
Domenica marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2016
Simeon Berry
Simeon Berry rated it liked it
Sep 13, 2016
Samodh marked it as to-read
Sep 01, 2016
Martha added it
Sep 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • World's Tallest Disaster: Poems
  • Queen for a Day: Selected And New Poems
  • Interior with Sudden Joy: Poems
  • Cocktails
  • Sad Little Breathing Machine
  • Black Box
  • Awe
  • No Planets Strike
  • Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry
  • This Connection of Everyone With Lungs
  • Sweet Machine
  • Song
  • Trouble in Mind: Poems
  • Hinge & Sign: Poems, 1968-1993
  • Shake
  • Halflife: Poems
  • The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems, 1974-1994
  • Spar
American poet Olena Kalytiak Davis was born in 1963. She is the author of two poetry collections: 'And Her Soul Out Of Nothing' and 'Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, And Other Off-And-Back Handed Importunities.'

Her first book won the Brittingham Prize. Her other honors include a a 1996 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award in poetry, and a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry.

Her poems have been publ
More about Olena Kalytiak Davis...

Share This Book

“did I mention my first kiss was extracted by someone who never should have been that lucky?” 10 likes
More quotes…