The Dead and the Living

The Dead and the Living poems by Sharon Olds

I'm reading poetry to reconnect to language (above story) and to emotion that fuels writing. My bookshelf contains poetry books from the late 80's and early 90's so this is where I went first. Sharon Olds writes about topics like incest, bloody birth, sex, the passionate connection to one's children, and the inescapable quality of one's own childhood.  I like to call them "honest" rather than "confessional."( Somewhere along the line, her territory became over-saturated and uninteresting but these poems are totally fresh.) Of course she's using material from her own life, but she finds its gold and moments of fascination in daily, ordinary things. I love the sharp, precise, and , somehow untethered use of language.  She writes with a colloquial melody yet manages to turn our expectations (about content) upside down. She reminded me of the joy of my own medium and its power.

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