by Sharon Olds
*SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 T. S. ELIOT PRIZE* Following her recent Odes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet gives us a new collection of poems that sing of a woman's intimate life and political conscience. The atom bomb, Breaking Bad, the cervix, Trayvon Martin, her mother's return from the dead: the peerless Sharon Olds once again takes up subject matter that is both difficult and ordinary, elusive and everywhere. Each aria is shaped by its unique melody and moral logic, as Olds stands centre stage to account for her own late romance and chance wisdom, and faces the tragic life of our nation and our planet. 'I cannot say I did not ask / to be born,' begins one aria, which considers how, with what actions, with what thirst, we each ask for a turn, and receive our portion on earth. Olds delivers these pieces with all the passion, anguish, and solo force that make a great performance, in the process enlarging the soul of her readers.
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Date of Publication: 07/11/2019