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Winner of the 2000 Paterson Poetry Prize"She has written without embarrassment or apology, with remarkable passion and savagery and nerve, poems about family and family pathology, early erotic fascination, and sexual life inside marriage."--Amy HempelSharon Olds divides this new book into five sections--"Blood," "Tin," "Straw," "Fire," and "Light"--each made up of fourteen poems whose dominant imagery is drawn from one of these elements. The poems are rooted in different moments of an ordinary life and weave back and forth in time. Each section suggests the progression of the making of a soul cleansed by blood, forged by fire, suffused by light. Unafraid to confront the ecstatic or the brutal side of a woman's experience, Sharon Olds transforms her subjects with an alchemist's art, using language that is alternately casual and startling, fierce and transcendent. This is an intensely moving collection by one of our finest poets.From the Hardcover edition.
The 1983 Lamont poetry selection of the Academy of American Poets.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Fatheris often regarded as Sharon Olds' most important and powerful single book. In its poems, Olds narrows her focus to a sequence of startling and provocative poems about a daughter's final days with her dying father. It is an elegant, passionate examination of love and loss, a bittersweet, transcendent elegy.
A new collection by the much praised poet whose second book THE DEAD AND THE LIVING, was both the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1983 and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Sharon Olds completes her cycle of family poems in a book at once intense and harmonic, playful with language, and rich with a new self-awareness and sense of irony.The opening poem, with its sequence of fearsome images of war, serves as a prelude to poems of home in which humor, anger, and compassion sing together with lyric energy--sometimes comic, sometimes filled with a kind of unblinking forgiveness. These songs of joy and danger--public and private--illuminate one another. As the book unfolds, the portrait of the mother goes through a moving revisioning, leading us to a final series of elegies of hard-won mourning. One Secret Thing is charged throughout with Sharon Olds's characteristic passion, imagination, and poetic power.The doctor on the phone was young, maybe on hisfirst rotation in the emergency room.On the ancient boarding-school radio,in the attic hall, the announcer had given myboyfriend's name as one of twobrought to the hospital after the sunriseservice, the egg-hunt, the crash--one of themcritical, one of them dead. I was looking at thestairwell banisters, at their lathing,the necks and knobs like joints and bones,the varnish here thicker here thinner--I had saidWhich one of them died, and now the world wasan ant's world: the huge crumb of eachsecond thrown, somehow, up ontomy back, and the young, tired voicesaid my fresh love's name.from "Easter 1960"From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this wise and intimate new book, Sharon Olds tells the story of a divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory, and new freedom. As she carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending, Olds opens her heart to the reader, sharing the feeling of invisibility that comes when we are no longer standing in love's sight; the surprising physical bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband's smile to the set of his hip; the radical change in her sense of place in the world. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable "Stag's Leap," "When anyone escapes, my heart / leaps up. Even when it's I who am escaped from, / I am half on the side of the leaver." Olds's propulsive poetic line and the magic of her imagery are as lively as ever, and there is a new range to the music--sometimes headlong, sometimes contemplative and deep. Her unsparing approach to both pain and love makes this one of the finest, most powerful books of poetry she has yet given us.
A powerful collection from one of our most gifted and widely read poets-117 of her finest poems drawn from her seven published volumes. Michael Ondaatje has called Sharon Olds's poetry "pure fire in the hands" and cheered the "roughness and humor and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss. " This rich selection exhibits those qualities in poem after poem, reflecting, moreover, an exciting experimentation with rhythm and language and a movement toward an embrace beyond the personal. Subjects are revisited-the pain of childhood, adolescent sexual stirrings, the fulfillment of marriage, the wonder of children-but each recasting penetrates ever more deeply, enriched by new perceptions and conceits. Strike Sparksis a testament to this remarkable poet's continuing and amazing growth. From the Hardcover edition.
From Sharon Olds--a stunning new collection of poems that project a fresh spirit, a startling energy of language and counterpoint, and a moving, elegiac tone shot through with humor. From poems that erupt out of history and childhood to those that embody the nurturing of a new generation of children and the transformative power of marital love, Sharon Olds takes risks, writing boldly of physical, emotional, and spiritual sensations that are seldom the stuff of poetry. These are poems that strike for the heart, as Sharon Olds captures our imagination with unexpected wordplay, sprung rhythms, and the disquieting revelations of ordinary life. Writing at the peak of her powers, this greatly admired poet gives us her finest collection. From the Hardcover edition.
Sharon Olds's dazzling new collection is a sequence of poems that reaches into the very wellspring of life. The poems take us back to the womb, and from there on to childhood, to a searing sexual awakening, to the shock of childbirth, to the wonder and humor of parenthood--and, finally, to the depths of adult love.Always bold, musical, honest, these poems plunge us into the essence of experience. This is a highly charged, beautifully organized collection from one of the finest poets writing today.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"A collection of poems that give rich drama to ordinary experience, deepening our sense of what it means to be human."-Pulitzer Prize finalist citation"There is a broad, powerful streak of independence-even disobedience-that runs through Stone's writing and has inspired a great number of women after her."-GuardianFinalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, this retrospective of Ruth Stone's poetry combines the best work from twelve previous volumes with an abundance of new poems. This comprehensive selection includes early formal lyrics, fierce political poems, and meditations on her husband's suicide and her own blindness. As Sharon Olds says in her foreword, "A Ruth Stone poem feels alive in the hands-ardent, independent, restless." What Love Comes To is a necessary collection from an American original.Can it be thatmemory is useless,like a torn webhanging in the wind?Sometimes it billowsout, a full high gauze-like a canopy.But the air passesthrough the rentsand it falls again and flapsshapelesslike the ghost rag that it is-hanging at the windowof an empty room.Ruth Stone is the author of twelve books of poetry. Among her many awards are the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Eric Mathieu King Award, a Whiting Award, and she was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. She taught creative writing at many universities, finally settling at SUNY Binghamton. She lives in Vermont.