Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds
Poems

71%

8 Critic Reviews

...there are violently mixed feelings, erotic memories, loneliness, anger, and resolve in a book that takes its arc from the divorce, but its organization from the seasons, moving from winter to spring to “years later,” and frequently looking back...
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

In this wise and intimate new book, Sharon Olds tells the story of a divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory, and new freedom.

As she carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending, Olds opens her heart to the reader, sharing the feeling of invisibility that comes when we are no longer standing in love’s sight; the surprising physical bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband’s smile to the set of his hip; the radical change in her sense of place in the world. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable “Stag’s Leap,” “When anyone escapes, my heart / leaps up.  Even when it’s I who am escaped from, / I am half on the side of the leaver.” Olds’s propulsive poetic line and the magic of her imagery are as lively as ever, and there is a new range to the music—sometimes headlong, sometimes contemplative and deep. Her unsparing approach to both pain and love makes this one of the finest, most powerful books of poetry she has yet given us.

 

About Sharon Olds

See more books from this Author
Sharon Olds is Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. Her most recent book of poems is "One Secret Thing", which is currently short-listed for the Forward Poetry Prize in The U.K.
 
Published September 4, 2012 by Knopf. 114 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Stag's Leap
All: 8 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 2

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Sep 17 2012

...there are violently mixed feelings, erotic memories, loneliness, anger, and resolve in a book that takes its arc from the divorce, but its organization from the seasons, moving from winter to spring to “years later,” and frequently looking back...

Read Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Kate Kellaway on Oct 20 2012

Sharon Olds, who has always had a gift for describing intimacy, has, in a sense, had these poems thrown at her by life and allowed them to take root: they are stunning...

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NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Larry Smith on Sep 04 2012

Though Ms. Olds is rather over fond of the enjambed lines that break off or drop into the next line against syntax, sometimes it just reads flat like prose.

Read Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Tess Taylor on Sep 07 2012

This book is not perfect. I didn't love how the title poem, riffing on the name of a popular Napa Valley wine, captured the husband as a stag leaping away. There were moments that made me squirm

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Larry Smith on Sep 04 2012

Ms. Olds always writes from the gut and sometimes the heart in intimate images that often disturb as much as reveal. She keeps her finger on the pain of living...yet sometimes she pressing that button a little too often too deliberate.

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The Boston Globe

Good
Reviewed by Michael Andor Brodeur on Dec 23 2012

...in “Stag’s Leap,” Olds’s generosity suits her task. The poems feel like inventories of what remains, and reassurances that beginnings aren’t just as possible as endings, they’re inevitable...

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Donna Seaman on Sep 18 2013

These are threshed, rinsed, and polished poems of suffering and dignity, recognition and resignation, and freedom. And it this artistic victory over pain that makes Olds’ work so potent.

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Good
Reviewed by Molly Peacock on Oct 24 2012

...metaphorical jolts and astonishing candor...A bareback ride through the inner life of a prizewinning poet every woman should know.

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82%

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 27 Jan 2014

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