Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[The poet] enters with an unusual savagery into the familiar arena of Oedipal strife that has been so central to American poetry since mid-century... Her poems characteristically start slowly, almost in prose, then develop a wild and messy energy that builds into propulsive rhythms and lines that spillover onto each other so fast the reader risks missing words, connections. This slambang action usually culminates in something like a punch line that lifts the reader out of the poem. The risk, of course, is that the reader will have been knocked out of the poem much earlier, maybe repelled by the brutality, but more likely exhausted out of intensity. Habitual shocks tend to deaden, and after we've read 20 to 30 poems with penises in them, functioning, detached or semidetached, we may grow insensitive to the extraordinary physicality of the poet's vision. But some of the emotional power is restored in Sharon Olds' poems of the father... The power of Miss Olds' physical imagination [also] allows her a striking childbirth poem, 'The Moment the Two Worlds Meet.'" Anthony Libby, The New York Times Book Review