Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

Sharon Olds
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Life

Sharon Olds was born in 1942 in San Francisco. She was raised as a “hellfire Calvinist”, as she describes it. She says she was by nature "a pagan and a pantheist" and notes "I was in a church where there was both great literary art and bad literary art, the great art being psalms and the bad art being hymns. The four-beat was something that was just part of my consciousness from before I was born." She adds "I think I was about 15 when I conceived of myself as an atheist, but I think it was only very recently that I can really tell that there's nobody there with a copybook making marks against your name." After graduating from Stanford University... more »

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Quotations

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  • ... to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, lo...
    Sharon Olds (b. 1942), U.S. poet. As quoted in Listen to Their Voices, ch. 18 (1993). On why writing poetry, though "always difficult," is easier ...
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Comments about Sharon Olds

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  • Catherineh Knudson (1/19/2020 10:12:00 AM)

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  • caley lander (9/3/2019 12:15:00 AM)

    please write to me, we live in the same place. more or less,

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  • Melpub (4/4/2019 5:29:00 AM)

    My favorite poet of all time, apart from the dead white males

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  • Hannah Jolley (2/28/2016 12:08:00 PM)

    What are the literary devices in this poem, and some examples of them? Please help.

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  • Bill Grace (1/16/2012 11:01:00 PM)

    This woman haunts me and I have never met her! But here are four of her book titles: The Unswept Room, The Dead and the Living, Satan Says, Blood, Tin, Straw She is frankly an indictment of the Poemhunter site because there is no word of which she is afraid. We had her Sex without Love on our front page (Poemhunter) and this has been lost. She has taught me to be a little less afraid and a little more honest in my writing. Well worth an investment of any sort. Bill Grace in San Antonio, Texas

    21 person liked.
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Read all 16 comments »
Best Poem of Sharon Olds

The Victims

When Mother divorced you, we were glad. She took it and
took it in silence, all those years and then
kicked you out, suddenly, and her
kids loved it. Then you were fired, and we
grinned inside, the way people grinned when
Nixon's helicopter lifted off the South
Lawn for the last time. We were tickled
to think of your office taken away,
your secretaries taken away,
your lunches with three double bourbons,
your pencils, your reams of paper. Would they take your
suits back, too, those dark
carcasses hung in your closet, and the black
noses of your shoes ...

Read the full of The Victims

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