Award-winning Poet and Educator
Author of Stag's Leap
Sharon Olds is the author of eight volumes of poetry. Her poetry, says Michael Ondaatje, is “pure fire in the hands,” and David Leavitt in the Voice Literary Supplement describes her work as “remarkable for its candor, its eroticism, and its power to move.” With sensuality, humor, sprung rhythm, and remarkable imagery, she expresses truths about domestic and political violence, sexuality, family relationships, love, and the body. Often compared to “confessional” poets, she has been much praised for the courage, emotional power, and extraordinary physicality of her work. A reviewer for The New York Times hailed her poetry for its vision: “Like Whitman, Ms. Olds sings the body in celebration of a power stronger than political oppression.”
Born in San Francisco, Sharon Olds studied at Stanford University and Columbia University. Her numerous honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant; a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; the San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first collection, Satan Says (1980); and the Lamont Poetry Selection and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Dead and the Living (1983). Her other books of poetry are Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002 (2004), Blood, Tin, Straw (1999), The Gold Cell (1997), The Wellspring (1995), and The Father (1992). Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Named New York State Poet Laureate (1998 – 2000), Olds teaches graduate poetry workshops at New York University (now in it’s 21st year) and the writing workshop she helped found at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely disabled. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. Her poetry collection, One Secret Thing, was a finalist for the T. S. Eliot Prize & the Forward Prize. Her most recent collection, Stag's Leap (2012), was named one of Oprah's Favorite Reads of 2012 and won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and also the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2014, Sharon Olds was awarded the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Sharon Olds lives in New York City.
"What is most striking is Olds's vigorous and fecund metaphorical imagination."— Joyce Peseroff, The American Book Review
"I cannot praise [Sharon Olds’ poetry] enough. It seems to me not only faultless, but it also deals effortlessly with many urgent subjects that are left out of so much contemporary poetry. Every poem is a wonder – strong, actual, unsentimental and without bullshit – in a world glowing with solid reality."— Peter Redgrove