The Father

The Father

5.0 2
by Sharon Olds
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The Father is a sequence of poems, a daughter's vision of a father's illness and death. It chronicles these events in a connected narrative, from the onset of the illness to reflections in the years after the death. The poems are impelled by a passion to know and a freedom to follow wherever the truth may lead, and it goes into areas of feeling and experience

Overview

The Father is a sequence of poems, a daughter's vision of a father's illness and death. It chronicles these events in a connected narrative, from the onset of the illness to reflections in the years after the death. The poems are impelled by a passion to know and a freedom to follow wherever the truth may lead, and it goes into areas of feeling and experience rarely entered in poetry . . . The ebullient language, the startling images, the sense of connectedness seize us immediately. Sharon Olds transforms a harsh reality with truthfulness, with beauty, with humor—and without bitterness. The deep pain in The Father arises from a death, and from understanding a life. But there is joy as well. In the end, we discover we have been reading not a grim accounting but an inspiriting tragedy, transcending the personal.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These startling poems work and rework the poet's experience of her father dying from cancer. Many take place at his deathbed, detailing the physical horror of the disease as if to exorcise it: ``When they empty out his catheter bag,/ pouring the pale, amber fluid/ into the hospital measuring cup, it is/neither good nor bad, it is only/ the body.'' But at its heart, this book is about the poet's coming to terms with a father she has hated: an alcoholic, divorced from her mother, and at times cruel and remote. Olds handles this very difficult terrain directly, without sentimentality: ``I would have traded/ places with anyone raised on love,/but how would anyone raised on love/bear this death?'' At its best, her work calls to mind James Wright's stunning leaps from the physical into prayer: ``Yes the tears came/ out like juice and sugar from the fruit--/ the skin thins and breaks and rips, there are/ laws on this earth and we live by them.'' Psalm-like, these poems make beauty from pain without softening it. For most collections.-- Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307760739
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/05/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Sharon Olds was born in 1942, in San Francisco, and educated at Stanford University and Columbia University. Her first book of poems, Satan Says (1980), received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Her second, The Dead and the Living, was both the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1983 and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches poetry workshops in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and in the N.Y.U. workshop program at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in New York. More recently she was awarded the Walt Whitman Citation for Merit by the New York State Writers Institute of the State University of New York. The citation officially invested her with the title of New York State Poet for 1998-2000.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Father 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Bokochan More than 1 year ago
I bought this as a gift to a real poetry lover. She is nothing but pleased with it. And what I read before wrapping it sure did move me as well. Fantastic!! This one's a winner!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book many times and continually marvel at the narrative that strings the poems together. I admire the speaker's curiosity about the most terrible things and the way these terrible things give rise to each poem.