Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002

Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002

by Sharon Olds
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375710766
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
311,712
Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.39(h) x 0.61(d)

Read an Excerpt

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.

Meet the Author

Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco and was educated at Stanford and Columbia. She was the New York State Poet Laureate from 1998 to 2000. She teaches poetry workshops in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and was one of the founders of the NYU workshop program at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Her work has received the Harriet Monroe Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets, and the San Francisco Poetry Center Award. She lives in New York City.

Sharon Olds’s The Dead and the Living; The Gold Cell; The Wellspring; The Father; Blood, Tin, Straw; and The Unswept Room are available in Knopf paperback.

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