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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.
SHARON OLDS was born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University and Columbia University. The winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and England's T. S. Eliot Prize for her 2012 collection, Stag's Leap, she is the author of eleven previous books of poetry and the winner of many other honors, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Dead and the Living. Olds teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and helped to found the NYU outreach programs, among them the writing workshop for residents of Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She lives in New York City.