Written and read by Sharon Olds. If I pass a mirror, I turn away, I do not want to look at her, and she does not want to be seen. Often, when I feel that way, within a few minutes I am crying, remembering his body, or an area of it, his backside often, a part of him just right now to think of, luscious, not too detailed, and his back turned to me. After tears, the chest is less sore, as if some goddess of humanness within us has caressed us with a gush of tenderness. I am so ashamed before my friends—to be known to be left by the one who supposedly knew me best, each hour is a room of shame, and I am swimming, swimming, holding my head up smiling, joking, ashamed, ashamed, like being naked with the clothed, or being a child, having to try to behave while hating the terms of your life. On the badminton lawn, she got her one shot, pure as an arrow, while through the eyelets of my blouse the no-see-ums bit the flesh no one seems now to care to touch.
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You can visit also visit her blog. I had never seen or heard anything so beautiful, elegant, specific, and, in the end, utterly, disastrously heartbreaking. It remains, to this day, one of my favorite poems of all time. However, I first walked in to poetry, and I mean walked in, felt the table and the chairs around me, the slick bodies and their needs, and felt precariously at home, when I first read the work of Sharon Olds. The first book I bought of hers was, The Dead and the Living. And then, like a schoolgirl discovering pornography and self-love all at once, I read every one of her books that were out by that year and began to sink down into myself. It was a sinking.
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Naked to the Earth is a wide-ranging, lyrical, jarring, playful, elegiac, dissonant, amazing quest to understand who we are and how we became who we are. This book will make you think—deeply and profoundly—about relationships, culture, obligation to ourselves and others, those we love and those we may not love but should , violence and war. This book is the distillation of a lifetime by a poet who has personally experienced injustice and the misuse of power, but has not given anyone the power to make her hate.
In the poems, Neruda found cause to praise the common and the extraordinary, the concrete and the conceptual. He wrote of artichokes, and the moon, and friendship. Now, when she sat down to write in her notebook, she found herself apostrophizing anything that crossed her mind, addressing concepts and objects directly, trying to name their component parts.