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Sharon Olds

Author of The Dead and the Living

38+ Works 3,296 Members 36 Reviews 21 Favorited

About the Author

Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco. She lives in New York City.

Includes the name: Sharon Olds

Image credit: Catherine Mauger

Works by Sharon Olds

The Dead and the Living (1984) 522 copies
The gold cell : poems (1987) 490 copies
Satan Says (1980) 353 copies
Stag's Leap: Poems (2012) 328 copies
The Wellspring: Poems (1996) 260 copies
The Father (1992) 254 copies
Blood, Tin, Straw (1999) 250 copies
The Unswept Room (2002) 207 copies
One Secret Thing (2008) 116 copies
Odes (2016) 108 copies
Arias (2019) 62 copies
Balladz (2022) 44 copies
Selected Poems (2005) 22 copies
La Materia De Este Mundo (2014) 2 copies
La Habitacion Sin Barrer (2014) 2 copies
Odas (1900) 2 copies
El padre (2004) 2 copies

Associated Works

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,228 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 904 copies
Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (2003) — Contributor — 759 copies
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor, some editions — 737 copies
The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology (1992) — Contributor — 385 copies
Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality (2000) — Contributor — 366 copies
180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day (2005) — Contributor — 357 copies
The Best American Poetry 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 219 copies
The Best American Poetry 1999 (1999) — Contributor — 208 copies
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 191 copies
The Best American Poetry 2002 (2002) — Contributor — 180 copies
The Best American Poetry 1994 (1994) — Contributor — 169 copies
The Best American Poetry 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 133 copies
Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (1984) — Contributor — 128 copies
The Best American Poetry 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 117 copies
Deep Down: The New Sensual Writing by Women (1988) — Contributor — 114 copies
Emergency Kit (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 108 copies
Poems from the Women's Movement (2009) — Contributor — 107 copies
A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer (2007) — Contributor — 105 copies
The Best American Poetry 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 89 copies
The Best American Poetry 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 74 copies
The Best American Poetry 2018 (2018) — Contributor — 72 copies
Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (2020) — Contributor — 70 copies
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 62 copies
The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying, and Living On (1997) — Contributor — 59 copies
The Best American Poetry 2019 (2019) — Contributor — 53 copies
The Seasons of Women: An Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 46 copies
The Best American Poetry 2020 (2020) — Contributor — 39 copies
Antaeus No. 75/76, Autumn 1994 - The Final Issue (1994) — Contributor — 32 copies
60 Years of American Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 28 copies
The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review (2008) — Contributor — 25 copies
The Poetry Cure (2005) — Contributor — 19 copies
Modern Women Poets (2005) — Contributor — 13 copies
Poetry Magazine Vol. 207 No. 5, February 2016 (2016) — Contributor — 10 copies
The Paris Review 96 1985 Summer (1985) — Contributor — 2 copies
Sinister Wisdom 5 (1978) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



Honest and accessible. I enjoyed the focus on the 'ordinary' and the introspection. It's still not my favorite style and characteristically I most enjoyed a few lines that tie the 'political' to the very personal.
Kiramke | 1 other review | Jun 27, 2023 |
Don't know what to say/think about this one; maybe it represents my struggle to figure out how to weigh/understand poetic craft vs. content. There's no right answer, of course—but this is one of those instances where I don't feel like I can say much that's just in the way of legitimate criticism—only that a good portion of the collection didn't sit well with me. (And here I am, feeling like I'm heading off the topic-cliff of taste and its whims.)
KatrinkaV | 4 other reviews | Dec 31, 2022 |
Longlisted for the National Book Award, Balladz by Sharon Olds was my introduction to the poet. Social media friends told me that Olds was a favorite poet. Although I read contemporary poetry in my younger years, I became out of touch after decades of living in rather isolated communities. I am thrilled to be able to discover all that I have been missing.

Olds style, so direct and filled with visceral images, can be jarring. The first section of the book are quarantine poems. Secluded in a rural cabin, Olds battles with loneliness–and mice, setting traps, dealing with the blood bath afterwards. She writes a poem to the centipede that she also kills, noting, “Of course I am a killer. I am/human.” And in the next poem she asks, “Is it impossible/for me to be good. Is it possible for us/ to try harder to kill this planet/slower. Would I kill this animal again/it it did its undulation above me/alone the wall. Is this the best that I can/do this morning to work against the killing/done in my name all over the earth.”

She writes angrily about the death of George Floyd. And in Anatomy Lesson for the Officer, of the human connection we share: “And that is a human throat you are kneeling/on. That is our throat, our brother’s,/our son’s, maybe our father’s throat. /That is your mother’s, your father’s, your son’s,/your daughter’s throat. That is your daughter’s throat.”

Amherst Ballads are in the style of Emily Dickinson, and I will need to take my time with them.

The Balladz section includes Best Friend Ballad, in which she remembers “the power of her house, and of the approach to it,” then recalls the girl’s death, praying “for a sleep tonight in which, 9 and 9, we can hold each other in a green dream.” I was transported back to when I was 9 years old, walking to my best friend’s 1900s farm house down the road, filled with grief knowing that she had died decades ago of disease.

And in Ballad Torn Apart, Olds vividly describes the car accident that killed a friend. In Album from a Previous Existence, she writes about her mother and childhood, and it is this harsh mother, who she talks about in earlier poems as tying her in a chair and beating her that is so hard to encounter, my own mother who, for all her flaws, was so giving, her love was like a tether that could not break with death.

Olds writes about her body, her self-image, the self-acceptance of growing old. “Now I’m better at talking to people without/thinking my face makes them want to throw up,”

I have not read all the poems. Poems on the death of her father and husband. There are some poems I need to go back to; I rushed through them, disturbed or confused. But then, is there any end to studying a poem, none the less nearly two hundred pages of poetry? It takes a life time. At least.

I received a free book from A. A. Knopf. My review is fair and unbiased.
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nancyadair | Sep 28, 2022 |
Olds se entrega a la dura tarea de acompañar a su padre camino de la nada como el precio a pagar para repetir su historia, la historia de un padre y una hija, pero esta vez dentro de un sustrato de amor y generosidad.
Lo más impresionante de Olds es como convierte en poema la decadencia física de un cuerpo del que nos describe, desde la presencia tangible de la enfermedad hasta lo más profano de lo fisiológico del cuerpo de un hombre mezquino y estúpido.
Orellana_Souto | Jul 27, 2021 |



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