Sharon Olds - Author

About the Author

Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco, and educated at Stanford and Columbia universities. Her first book, Satan Says (1980), received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Her second, The Dead and the Living, was both the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1983 and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Father was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize in England, 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 is one of the founders of NYU's writing workshops for residents of Goldwater Hospital, and for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Featured books by Sharon Olds

Stag's Leap

Stag's Leap

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

Winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2012. In this wise and intimate telling - which carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending - Sharon 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 passion that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband's smile to the set of his hip. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable title poem, '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' 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 Olds has yet given us.

Other books by Sharon Olds

Odes

Odes

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/09/2016

`Interspersed with acts of breathtaking linguistic daring.' Charlotte Mendelson, Observer Book of the Year Opening with a powerful and tender `Ode to the Hymen', Sharon Olds uses this age-old poetic form to address many aspects of herself, in a collection that is centred around the female body and female pleasures, and touches along the way on parts of her own story which will be familiar from earlier works, each episode and memory now burnished by the wisdom and grace of looking back. In such poems as `Ode to My Sister', `Ode of Broken Loyalty', `Ode to My Whiteness', `Blow Job Ode', `Ode to the Last 38 Trees in New York City Visible from This Window', Olds treats us to an intimate self-examination that, like all her work, is universal and by turns searing and charming in its honesty. From the early bodily joys and sorrows of her girlhood to the recent deaths of those dearest to her - the `Sheffield Mountain Ode' for Galway Kinnell is one of the most stunning pieces here - Olds shapes her world in language that is startlingly fresh, profound in its conclusions, and life-giving for the reader.

Stag's Leap

Stag's Leap

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

Winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2012. In this wise and intimate telling - which carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending - Sharon 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 passion that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband's smile to the set of his hip. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable title poem, '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' 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 Olds has yet given us.

The Father

The Father

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2009

Recently described by Joyce Carol Oates as a 'brilliant and fearless poet', Sharon Olds has long been regarded as a major American poet. When her selected poems were published in the UK in 1991, under the title The Sign of Saturn, she started to gather an enthusiastic audience in Britain. As Glyn Maxwell said in the TLS: 'The attention to line, the superbly focused detail, the way her autobiographical material strikes, shines, deepens, spreads: this, surely, is the sound the confessional hordes have been trying to utter since Lowell, the right road that is missed so easily.' The Father, first published in 1992, is 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. In a voice that remains unsentimental throughout, the narrator explores with honesty and lyrical intensity the range of emotions she experiences in the face of losing her father to cancer - as she confronts, unflinchingly, the knowledge of a life and a death. The Father is an elegant, passionate examination of love and loss, a bittersweet, transcendent elegy.

One Secret Thing

One Secret Thing

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2009

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 humour, 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 revision, 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.

Selected Poems

Selected Poems

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/10/2005

Michael Ondaatje has called Sharon Olds's poetry 'pure fire in the hands' and cheered the 'roughness and humour and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss'. This rich selection - made by the author - 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 fulfilment of marriage, the wonder of children - but each re-casting penetrates ever more deeply, enriched by new perceptions and conceits. A powerful distillation of the best work from one of America's most gifted and widely read poets, drawn from her seven published volumes, this is a testament to a remarkable writer's depth, range and continuing development.

The Unswept Room

The Unswept Room

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/03/2003

The Unswept Room is a dazzling collection of poems that project a fresh spirit, a startling energy of language and rhythm, and a moving, elegiac tone shot through with humour. 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 and emotional sensations seldom confronted in poetry. These are poems that strike for the heart, as Sharon Olds captures our imaginations with unexpected word play, 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.

Blood, Tin, Straw

Blood, Tin, Straw

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/07/2000

Sharon 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 the 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 America's finest poets.

The Wellspring

The Wellspring

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/05/1996

Over the last five years, Sharon Olds' poetry has become widely read and celebrated in Britain. Frank and exhilarating, sensual and profound, the poems stare, unblinking, at sex and death and love - showing these things to us in all their raw beauty. This striking new collection is a sequence of poems that reaches into the very wellspring of life. The poems take us back to the womb, to childhood, to a searing sexual awakening, to the shock of birth, the wonder and humour of parenthood - and finally to the depths of adult love. Always bold, musical and honest, The Wellspring plunges us into the essence of experience. This is a highly charged, sinuous, passionate book from one of the finest poets writing today.

Satan Says

Satan Says

Author: Sharon Olds Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/06/1980

Poems examine life as a child, a woman, and a mother, death, and our relationship to the world.

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