Looking For An Alaskan Poet

And so Davis’s submissions to the canon are anti-submissions; her title poem fantasizes a work that “wasn’t / influenced by homer or blake or yeats” and “contained no anxiety” and “hadn’t even heard of / louise glück franz wright billy (budd) collins.” The poem she didn’t write isn’t “The Poem She Didn’t Write”: of that imagined, nonexistent poem, Davis informs us that she “did not read [it] to anyone” and “did not send it out ‘for publication.’ ” That poem preëmpts its own rejection by never existing in the first place; it is the recessive version of Davis’s canonical aspirations, whose namesake will carry its torch.
- from You And Me Both, a review of Olena Kalytiak Davis's third book of poems by Dan Chiasson at The New Yorker

I am extremely insecure these days. I don't have any confidence left. I've turned 29 and felt like I haven't achieved anything: all I have is a tome of Fiction He Didn't Write and Other Poems, although in my case there were no recessive versions: it was never ever written. My food blog is gathering cobwebs. A while ago I read a review of Wu Tang Clan's 2015 album by Sasha Frere-Jones and a review of Olena Kalytiak Davis's third book of poems by Dan Chiasson. I liked the latter so much because the poet is so flawed and just as insecure:
Davis, who was born in 1963, in Detroit, to Ukrainian parents, has for years lived in and around Anchorage, Alaska, where she works as an attorney. From the evidence of her poems, she is a single mother who drives—or once drove—“a 1995 red toyota 4-runner with racing stripe,” listens to loud Dylan on the way to pick up her kids, falls in and out of love, and, above all, reads. The poems are paved with outbursts and literary touchstones. They feel like quickies, rough liaisons where “sex meets books,” sometimes, as in “Francesca Says More,” unhappily
The New Yorker is one of the few places where I find hope and inspiration, and my mind functions again, each article like applying oil to rusty gears. Each time I find myself alone - always in bus rides, or whenever in transit - inspiration strikes. But as soon as I open the gate of the house, I shed off the words like leaves blown by a sudden gust. I envy people who can juggle parenthood and writing all at the same time. How can they do it? How can they keep it burning? The mere sight of the laundry heap snuffs out all the possibilities writing has to offer. At home, I have lots of excuses:

  1. I don't have a personal laptop/smartphone: Although I am lucky enough to have a workspace that doubles as a stockroom (we call it the "other room"), I have the gall to make this as an excuse, when most people write on their smartphones or pad papers.
  2. I need to cook, to do laundry, to clean: Apparently it's a classic move of a procrastinator who works from home most of the time. Before I start writing, I do all the chores I can do until I feel sleepy. 
  3. I need to read an inspiring book: This is funny, because I've been desperately trying to read books - I juggle How to Be Alone by Franzen and White Nights by Tolstoy, among other things - and I still end up not writing at all. It's odd why I personally find reading reviews (The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The LRB and the NYRB and the LARB) rewarding, but that's probably not helpful: each time I read one, I arm myself with criticisms to strip each and every piece of my writing bare, exposing the undernourished, uninspired layers.
  4. I need to go somewhere else: Another excuse, because even if I go to Starbucks and chug expensive coffee, I can barely concentrate and write 50 words.