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by Sharon Olds


by Sharon Olds


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Following the Pulitzer prize-winning collection Stag’s Leap, Sharon Olds gives us a stunning book of odes. Opening with the powerful and tender “Ode to the Hymen,” Olds addresses and embodies, in this age-old poetic form, many aspects of love and gender and sexual politics in a collection that is centered on the body and its structures and pleasures. The poems extend parts of her narrative as a daughter, mother, wife, lover, friend, and poet of conscience that will be familiar from earlier collections, each episode and memory burnished by the wisdom and grace and humor of looking back. In such poems as “Ode to My Sister,” “Ode of Broken Loyalty,” “Ode to My Whiteness,” “Blow Job Ode,” and “Ode to the Last Thirty-Eight Trees in New York City Visible from This Window,” Olds treats us to an intimate examination that, like all her work, is universal, by turns searing and charming in its honesty. From the bodily joys and sorrows of childhood to the deaths of those dearest to us, Olds shapes the world in language that is startlingly fresh, profound in its conclusions, and life-giving for the reader.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451493644
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 460,275
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Winner of the 2016 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets

was born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University and Columbia University. The winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize for her 2012 collection, Stag’s Leap, she is the author of ten previous books of poetry and the winner of many other awards and honors, including the Wallace Stevens Award, the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first book, Satan Says (1980), and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her second, The Dead and the Living, which was also the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1983. The Father was short-listed for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and The Unswept Room was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Olds teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and helped to found the NYU outreach programs, among them the writing workshop for residents of Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Ode to the Hymen 3


Ode to the Clitoris 7

Ode to the Penis 8

Ode of Broken Loyalty 10

Wind Ode 11

Ode to My Whiteness 12

Amaryllis Ode 13

Ode to My Sister 14


Ode to the Condom 19

Ode to the Tampon 20

Hip Replacement Ode 21

Ode with a Silence in It 22

Ode to the Last Thirty-Eight Trees in New York City Visible from This Window 24

Ode to My Living Friends (January 2010) 26

Ode of Withered Cleavage 27


Ode to Menstrual Blood 31

Celibate's Ode to Balls 32

Ode to Thought 34

Secondary Boycott Ode 35

Legs Ode 36

Unmatching Legs Ode 38

Matching Ode 40

Ode of Girls' Things 42


Blow Job Ode 45

Ode to the Female Reproductive System 46

Sexist Ode 47

Spoon Ode 48

Ode to Buttermilk 49

Ode of the Corner I Was Stood In 50

Ode to the Creature from the Black Lagoon 51


Douche-Bag Ode 55

Single Lady's Ode 56

Ode to Whiskers 58

Split Ode 60

Ode of the Present Moment, in the Living Room, with Bianca 62

Stanley Kunitz Ode 64

Sheffield Mountain Ode 66

San Francisco Bay Dawn Ode 68

Sick Couch Ode 70


Victuals Dream Ode 75

Ode to the Word Vulva 76

Toxic Shock Ode 77

Ode to Wattles 78

Real Estate Ode 79

Ode to My Fat 80

My Mother's Flashlight Ode 81

Ode to Stretch Marks 82

Merkin Ode 84

Wild Ode 86


Ode for the Vagina 89

Ode to the Glans 90

Second Ode to the Hymen 91

Ode to a Composting Toilet 92

Ode to Dirt 94

Woodwind Ode 95

New England Camping Ode 96

Pine Tree Ode 98

Sloan Kettering Ode 99

Trilobite Ode 100

Double Ode for Hazel 102

Harmony Ode 105

O of Multiple O's 106

Donner Party Mother Ode 107


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