Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No 3

This week, the Wednesday poet is one I have greatly admired. Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco. She graduated from Stanford University and the received her Ph.D. form Columbia University in New York and currently teaches creative writing at New York University.

That I am aware of, Olds has eight major works published the first Satan Says in 1980. These were followed by The Dead and the Living, The Gold Cell, The Father, The Wellspring, Blood, Tin, Straw, The Unswept Room, and the latest, Strike Sparks: Selected Poems published in 2004. I am personally most familiar with Satan Says and The Father, both of which resonate with a frankness and detail that is reflected in most everything of hers I have read or heard.

Like Sylvia Plath, Olds seems to push work out from within relating things most personal. I've seen her quoted as saying, "I wish I wrote more about the world at more distance from myself." While she might wish that, her talents have been well served by her approach.

Her first book Satan Says, received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. The Dead and the Living won the 1983 Lamont Poetry Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award while her book The Father, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a finalist for The National Book Critics' Circle Award.

Some of her poems: The Unborn The Borders The Clasp Topography

One of my favorites among her poems is The Blue Dress, which unfortunately I have not found a link for as of yet. If I am able to, I will update this post.

In closing, I suppose I would be neglectful if I did not mention that Olds was the New York State Poet Laureate from 1998 - 2000.


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