Stag’s Leap

Sharon Olds, Author
Sharon Olds. Knopf, $26.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-307-95990-4
Open Ebook - 84 pages - 978-0-307-95991-1
Paperback - 89 pages - 978-0-375-71225-8
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-4481-3032-0
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4713-4285-1
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Known for her unadorned, emotionally direct, sometimes sexually explicit free verse, Olds has amassed a large and loyal following over 30-odd years and 10 books. In her new collection every poem speaks to the collapse of a 30-year marriage, precipitated by the ex-husband’s affair. Hence the memorable title: “The drawing on the label of our favorite red wine/ looks like my husband, casting himself off a/ cliff in his fervor to get free of me.” Olds begins as the marriage is ending: “I want to ask my/ almost-no-longer husband what it’s like to not/ love, but he doesn’t not want to talk about it.” Years later, he is a memory: Olds can “watch my idea of him pull away/ and stay, and pull away,” like a kite. In between 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: “Maybe I’m half over who he/ was, but not who I thought he was, and not/ over the wound, sudden deathblow/ as if out of nowhere.” (Sept.)
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