A powerful collection from one of our most gifted and widely read poets-117 of her finest poems drawn from her seven published volumes.
Michael Ondaatje has called Sharon Olds's poetry "pure fire in the hands" and cheered the "roughness and humor and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss." This rich selection exhibits those qualities in poem after poem, reflecting, moreover, an exciting experimentation with rhythm and language and a movement toward an embrace beyond the personal. Subjects are revisited-the pain of childhood, adolescent sexual stirrings, the fulfillment of marriage, the wonder of children-but each recasting penetrates ever more deeply, enriched by new perceptions and conceits.
Strike Sparks is a testament to this remarkable poet's continuing and amazing growth.
From the Hardcover edition.
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September 26, 2004
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Excerpt from Strike Sparks by Sharon Olds
Topography After we flew across the country we got in bed, laid our bodies intricately together, like maps laid face to face, East to West, my San Francisco against your New York, your Fire Island against my Sonoma, my New Orleans deep inside your Texas, your Idaho bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas burning against your Kansas your Kansas burning against my Kansas, your Eastern Standard Time pressing into my Pacific Time, my Mountain Time beating against your Central Time, your sun rising swiftly from the right my sun rising swiftly from the left your moon rising slowly from the left my moon rising slowly from the right until all four bodies of the sky burn above us, sealing us together, all our cities twin cities, all our states united, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. First Thanksgiving When she comes back, from college, I will see the skin of her upper arms, cool, matte, glossy. She will hug me, my old soupy chest against her breasts, I will smell her hair! She will sleep in this apartment, her sleep like an untamed, good object, like a soul in a body. She came into my life the second great arrival, fresh from the other world — which lay, from within him, within me. Those nights, I fed her to sleep, week after week, the moon rising, and setting, and waxing — whirling, over the months, in a steady blur, around our planet. Now she doesn’t need love like that, she has had it. She will walk in glowing, we will talk, and then, when she’s fast asleep, I’ll exult to have her in that room again, behind that door! As a child, I caught bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds, looked into their wild faces, listened to them sing, then tossed them back into the air — I remember the moment the arc of my toss swerved, and they entered the corrected curve of their departure. From the Hardcover edition.