Wednesday, November 19, 2008
ODE TO SHARON OLDS
Okay, for those of you who don't know, I have two favorite poets: Mary Oliver and Sharon Olds.
So when I found out Sharon Olds was going to be at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta for a reading to promote her new book ONE SECRET THING, I started contacting other Alabama poets about travel plans.
Well. You know how sometimes you can love an author's work so much, that you somehow feel you know that person, then you actually meet them or hear an interview and feel this overwhelming sense of disappointment, like this person had been stringing you along all the while and now you knew the dirty rotten truth, that they aren't so wonderful after all?
I gotta tell you: Sharon Olds is every bit as wonderful as I imagined. What a delightful person! She was everything I expected her to be, and more.
I think I was most surprised by her girlishness... is she really 66? She made a comment on discovering her "quirkiness," and you know, she was funny! I guess I just see her body of work as so serious and bold and meaningful that it sort of took my by surprise when she read a poem about looking at her sagging, dimpled butt in a hotel mirror.
She's not only a real poet, she's a real person. Who gets rejection slips and questions her ability and worries about what she's going to wear to a reading in Atlanta, Georgia. (J. Crew jacket, bought at the mall, that day.)
And you know what, she made me cry. Check out the book. Turn to page 80. Read "Little End Ode."
And look for more odes in her next collection. She said she's been reading Neruda and writing ode after ode. Can't wait!
"See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little."
- Pope John XXII