Balladz

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Balladz

Sharon Olds

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Description

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • Songs from our era of communal grief and reckoning—by the Pulitzer Prize and T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry winner, called "a poet for these times, a powerful woman who won’t back down" (San Francisco Chronicle).

"At the time of have-not, I look at myself in this mirror," writes Olds in this self-scouring, exhilarating volume, which opens with a section of quarantine poems, and at its center boasts what she calls Amherst Balladz (whose syntax honors Emily Dickinson: "she was our Girl - our Woman - / Man enough - for me") and many more in her own contemporary, long-flowing-sentence rhythm. Olds sings of her childhood, young womanhood, and maturity all mixed up together, seeing an early lover in the one who is about to buried; seeing her whiteness, seeing her privilege; seeing her mother (whom her readers will recognize) "flushed exalted at Punishment time"; seeing how we've spoiled the earth but carrying a stray indoor spider carefully back out to the garden.

It is Olds's gift to us that in the richly detailed exposure of her sorrows she can still elegize songbirds, her true kin, and write that heaven comes here in life, not after it.


Author

Sharon Olds:
SHARON OLDS was born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University and Columbia University. The winner of The Frost Medal, as well as both the Pulitzer Prize and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for her 2012 collection, Stag’s Leap, she is the author of twelve previous books of poetry and the winner of many other awards and honors, including the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first book, Satan Says (1980), and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her second, The Dead and the Living, which was also the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1983. 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 Isidor Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She lives in New York City.

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