Sharon olds and confessional poetry essay

Sharon Olds — American poet.

Sharon olds and confessional poetry essay

Her innocence hangs as an underbite that drags on, after the flat lyric voice stops speaking its talk-lines. Hers are the American fruits of childhood masochism, we are told, and parental sadism, all narrated with postmodernist rue and roughage.

She draws on the pubescent voice of a young, postholocaustal America, refusing to grow up, something like Alice in Wonderland crossed with Heart of Darkness.

The poet goes in witness of a world wickedly askew, twisted in "natural" ways with naive grotesquerie. Her voice is that of the idiomatic commonplace, liltingly in the presence of "the horror.

Always I am stunned to remember it, as if I have been to Saturn or the bottom of a trench in the sea floor, I sit on my bed the next day with my mouth open and think of it.


Olds sees through her vaginal "slit" to another world of golden threads, in "A Woman in Heat Wiping Herself," another reality within and beyond her, somewhere else, where her children come from: Imagine a contemporary Pocahontas, just graduated from Bluebirds, off to YWCA camp tomorrow, standing naked before a cracked mirror, with a doorway shadow behind her.

Puritan idealism comes up against a wild New World in the late twentieth century. Philip Larkin put it more baldly in High Windows, "They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

Beyond vamp, her poems puckishly take off from how a suburban mother talks to children: Being born inin San Francisco. Knee-jerk trashing of affirmative action, political correctness as ethnic revenge: So where does the poet turn? Back to the beginnings, to the first light of consciousness, where biology opens to psychology: And we come upon the gilded given, the "gold" rat-hole of our present reality, the "cell" of our descent from animal nature.

Is this gold cell a procreative biology, the physical world we live renewed in, or an enclosing penology, trapping us sexually in the body, in art, in the "word" cell? Mirroring this gold-cell chaos theory, there is a ghastly beauty in our planned scientifically and politically apocalypse.

How could things have gotten so hugely, so absurdly wrong? Is man, women ask, basely murderous, stupid, mad, or grotesquely naive? Are women victimized, shrewish, or passively complicitous? We have come to live with cartooned horror, black wit, absurdist innocence in the face of Armageddon; through the power of comic hyperbole we become accustomed to dealing with an outrageous "reality.

We hear the unpoetic grit of Our Country, given back whole, with art and devilish spin. The silly grin of reality slides over hunger and lust, human need and drive. This is realism taken seriously, and then some, pushed to absurdist fantasy.

A Brief Guide to Confessional Poetry | Academy of American Poets

Call it kitsch verite, the middle class in Polaroid snapshot: Olds sees common things from odd corners of refraction, where fantasy takes off from the given: Hers is the incestuous psychic grief of postmodernist America, women who hate their men, for good reason, possibly, their children aghast.

But is it art? Art is the given, plus what you make of it, within the forms or beyond them. Every poet for herself.

Sharon olds and confessional poetry essay

It dares not to be poetic. Her lines are coarse and curious as public bathroom scribblings, not designed to last as icons, but to string out as daily actions noted, then passed on. Nobody stands in in the I Want to Fuck Senseless line, just a pile of guns, but the I Want to Be Fucked Senseless line gets so long, they add portable toilets and a minister for births, deaths, and marriages.

Finally the line snakes out the door into the fields and "across the nation in a huge wide belt like the Milky Way, and since they had to name it they named it, they called it the American Way. How is it to grow up blue-eyed American, all-in-the-family?W hen Sharon Olds, who has just become the first American woman to win the TS Eliot prize for poetry, first submitted her work to a magazine in the early 70s, she was rejected with a condescending.

An Excerpt from An Essay on Sharon Olds' Poetry by Kenneth Lincoln. Kenneth Lincoln A sinister innocence colors Sharon Olds's work. She draws on the pubescent voice of a young, , to see and tell all this—a certain purgative confessional, a suburban poetics of witness that duck Plath's suicidal grief or Forche's politics.

Sharon Olds - Poet | Academy of American Poets

Sharon Olds – American poet. Sharon Olds is known for poetry in which she uses an intensely personal voice to explore themes of domestic . An Excerpt from an Interview with Olds. So I have written two or three confessional poems. I would use the phrase apparently personal poetry for the kind of poetry that I think people are referring to as "confessional." From Laurel Blossom.

"Sharon Olds.".

Sharon olds and confessional poetry essay

The tradition of confessional poetry has been a major influence on generations of writers and continues to this day; Marie Howe and Sharon Olds are two contemporary poets whose writing largely draws upon their personal experience.

In her early 20s Olds made a vow to Satan to write her own poetry - and again and again in her work she circles around a sinister moment when the narrator was tied by her mother to a chair.

An Excerpt from An Essay on Sharon Olds' Poetry by Kenneth Lincoln