Sharon Olds has made a long, illustrious career for herself by standing naked in front of all the world to see. She has used her poetry to confront the physical and psychic abuse she endured at the hands of her parents, her sexual independence in the 60's and 70's, the rise and fall of her marriage, or the highly criticized intimacy with which she discussed her children's lives. Now, entering the elder stateswoman era of her career as America's foremost "confessional poet" (I sure do hate that reductive term), Old's creates a book both whimsical and lite through its chosen poetic form, but also one which see's her soberly owning up to previous criticism and shifting certain attitudes about her Mother, Motherhood, and what it means to be a woman of a certain age. This book is simultaneously vintage Olds and something stylistically fresh, a beautiful collection for a poet who has never failed to be herself.
Following the Pulitzer prize-winning collection Stag's Leap, Sharon Olds gives us a stunning book of odes. Opening with the powerful and tender "Ode to the Hymen," Olds addresses and embodies, in this age-old poetic form, many aspects of love and gender and sexual politics in a collection that is centered on the body and its structures and pleasures. The poems extend parts of her narrative as a daughter, mother, wife, lover, friend, and poet of conscience that will be familiar from earlier collections, each episode and memory burnished by the wisdom and grace and humor of looking back. In such poems as "Ode to My Sister," "Ode of Broken Loyalty," "Ode to My Whiteness," "Blow Job Ode," and "Ode to the Last Thirty-Eight Trees in New York City Visible from This Window," Olds treats us to an intimate examination that, like all her work, is universal, by turns searing and charming in its honesty. From the bodily joys and sorrows of childhood to the deaths of those dearest to us, Olds shapes the world in language that is startlingly fresh, profound in its conclusions, and life-giving for the reader. From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Winner of the 2016 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American PoetsSHARON OLDS was born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University and Columbia University. The winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and England's T. S. Eliot Prize for her 2012 collection, Stag's Leap, she is the author of ten previous books of poetry and the winner of many other awards and honors, including the Wallace Stevens Award, the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first book, Satan Says (1980), and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her second, The Dead and the Living, which was also the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1983. The Father was short-listed for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and The Unswept Room was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Olds teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and helped to found the NYU outreach programs, among them the writing workshop for residents of Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She lives in New York City. From the Hardcover edition.