Sharon Olds’s latest book of poems, Stag’s Leap, has just been released this week.
From her Q & A with Barbara Chai at the Wall Street Journal's blog:
What is your approach to writing poetry, as opposed to writing journalism or memoir or fiction?--Marshal Zeringue
I’m trying to be accurate but what I’m trying to be accurate to is experience – emotional, physical, soul, social. Experience of an ordinary-enough person: myself. I don’t write from the “I” so much because I think I’m interesting. I certainly didn’t think I was smart. But just, this is my only chance. This vessel to experience with the senses and imagination, what it’s like to be alive for me.
You’ve been living in New York for more than 40 years. What brought you here?
I had heard about New York City from when I was maybe seven years old. I had seen pictures of it in Life Magazine. Life Magazine was all black and white and I saw it and I said, “What place is that?” to someone. And they said, that is a place where no decent person would wish to live, and I thought, there’s a home for me. There’s a place for me where the other not-decent people live. And there’s no question ever in my mind from when I was really, really young, where I was going, because they told me. It turned out to be of course deeply false in terms of human decency but ...[read on]