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Stag's Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds
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Stag's Leap: Poems (2012)

by Sharon Olds

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A wonderfully intimate collection of poems centering around the abandonment of the author after decades of marriage by her now ex husband. It starts with the mental distancing at home and ultimately leads to divorce and all the questions about what went wrong. These are heart felt and written straight from the heart. She is far more fair to her ex spouse than I would have been in a similar situation. Every single poem is a gem and I certainly see why the collection won the Pulitzer Prize ( )
  muddyboy | Nov 28, 2013 |
As a man, married to the same woman for almost 40 years, I am amazed that I could be so moved by one woman's poetry about her divorce. These are powerful, powerful poems. ( )
  nmele | Jul 8, 2013 |
Thirty year marriage. Husband left for another woman.

OMG this is my story.

So when I read the description for this book, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, I had to reserve it from the library.

It's a life shattering event and she tells it honestly and openly, and from my point of view, very realistically. She says things I've never been able to articulate; emotions I've never admitted out loud.

From the title poem, Stag's Leap (a favorite wine she and her husband shared) is this bit often quoted in reviews:

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.

One of my favorite of the poems is 'Last Look' which I don't seem to be able to edit into a neat excerpt. The last phrase however, is that she feels blessed
'not to have
lost someone who could have loved me for life.'

Like all poetry that really touches you, it's hard to say "Oh, yes, I finished that book in May." Snatches come back at odd times and odd situations and there is a subtle shift in outlook from that point onward. I know I'll revisit bits many times. Although I'd recommend this book to anyone who has loved completely and lost, I feel she sang to my heart. This is definitely one that I'll have to purchase my own copy--the library copy just won't do.

4 stars ( )
  streamsong | Jun 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307959902, Hardcover)

In this wise and intimate new book, Sharon Olds tells the story of a divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory, and new freedom.

As she carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending, 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 bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband’s smile to the set of his hip; the radical change in her sense of place in the world. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable “Stag’s Leap,” “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’s 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 she has yet given us.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:36 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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 bond 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 who now loves another woman. -- Cover, p. [4]… (more)

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