Apparently Personal: On Sharon Olds

Gunnhild Øyehaug at The Paris Review:

Who is Sharon Olds? Sharon Olds is an American poet, born in San Francisco in 1942. She has a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University and made her debut as a writer in 1980 with the poetry collection Satan Says. Since then, she has established herself as one of the most read, most decorated, and most controversial North American contemporary poets. “Sharon Olds’s poems are pure fire in the hands,” Michael Ondaatje has said. She became particularly well known after she refused to take part in a National Book Festival dinner organized by Laura Bush, then First Lady, in 2005, and wrote in an open letter: “So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.”

The way I discovered her was through a poem on a particular penis, which came as a recommendation from a Finnish Swedish colleague: “Read Sharon Olds’s ‘The Pope’s Penis’!”

more here.