Sharon Olds, 2019

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Following her recent Odes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet gives us radical new poems of intimate life and political conscience, of race and class and a mother’s violence.

The atom bomb, Breaking Bad, Rasputin, the cervix, her mother’s return from the dead: the peerless Sharon Olds once again takes up subject matter that is both difficult and ordinary, elusive and everywhere. Each aria is shaped by its unique harmonics and moral logic, as Olds stands center stage to sing of sexual pleasure and chance wisdom, and faces the tragic life of our nation and our planet. “I cannot say I did not ask / to be born,” begins one aria, which considers how, with what actions, with what thirst, we each ask for a turn, and receive our portion on earth. Olds delivers these pieces with all the passion, anguish, and solo force that make a great performance, in the process enlarging the soul of her reader.

About Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University and Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Frost Medal for lifetime achievement, as well as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the UK’s T. S. Eliot Prize for her 2012 collection, Stag’s Leap. She is the author of twelve previous books of poetry and the recipient of many other awards and honors, including 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. Olds teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and helped found the NYU outreach programs, among them the writing workshop for residents of the former S. S. Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She lives in New York City.

Additional information

Weight11.8 oz
Dimensions6.25 × .75 × 9.25 in

Publication Date

October 15, 2019

Page Count