Sharon Olds

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Sharon Olds

Author profile


born
in San Francisco, California, The United States
November 19, 1942

gender
female

genre


About this author

Born in San Francisco on November 19, 1942, Sharon Olds earned a B.A. at Stanford University and a Ph.D. at Columbia University.

Her first collection of poems, Satan Says (1980), received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Olds's following collection, The Dead & the Living (1983), received the Lamont Poetry Selection in 1983 and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Her other collections include Strike Sparks: Selected Poems (2004, Knopf), The Unswept Room (2002), Blood, Tin, Straw (1999), The Gold Cell (1997), The Wellspring (1995), and The Father (1992), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

About Olds's poetry, one reviewer for the New York Times sa...more


Average rating: 4.14 · 12,112 ratings · 778 reviews · 38 distinct works · Similar authors
The Dead and the Living
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 2,359 ratings — published 1984 — 6 editions
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The Gold Cell (Knopf Poetry...
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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 1,585 ratings — published 1987 — 4 editions
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Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Ser...
4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 1,334 ratings — published 1980 — 4 editions
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Stag's Leap: Poems
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 1,034 ratings — published 2012 — 10 editions
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The Wellspring
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 699 ratings — published 1996 — 7 editions
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Strike Sparks: Selected Poe...
4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 573 ratings — published 2004 — 5 editions
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The Father
4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 590 ratings — published 1992 — 7 editions
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Blood, Tin, Straw: Poems
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 591 ratings — published 1999 — 7 editions
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The Unswept Room
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 475 ratings — published 2002 — 10 editions
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One Secret Thing
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 277 ratings — published 2008 — 8 editions
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More books by Sharon Olds…

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“I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky. ”
Sharon Olds

“Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.”
Sharon Olds, Satan Says

“I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips black in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don't do it--she's the wrong woman,
he's the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don't do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips like chips of flint as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it”
Sharon Olds

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