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 OldsSee more books from this Author
...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
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 squirmRead Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems | See more reviews from NPR
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.Read Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
...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...Read Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems
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.Read Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems
...metaphorical jolts and astonishing candor...A bareback ride through the inner life of a prizewinning poet every woman should know.Read Full Review of Stag's Leap: Poems
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