Sharon Olds Essay

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Sharon Olds’ Poetry Explained Sharon Olds was born in 1942 in San Francisco and received education from Stanford and Columbia University. She married a man in the late 1960s and is the mother of a son and daughter. That marriage eventually ended and the painful breakup has influenced her poetry heavily. Olds writes continuously, and only after an extensive amount of time has passed she feels the need to put together poems that comprise a book. She is one of a few poets in the United States whose books of poetry sell in large quantities. Olds is well known for mainly using a free verse style written in the first person point of view when writing her usual intensely personal poetry which depicts family life and political events around the world. The poem entitled “Parents’ Day” is a poem that is straightforward in what the author wants the reader to understand. In this poem Olds describes the complex relation between a mother and her daughter on Parents’ Day at school. Throughout the poem the child portrayed in the poem seems to be awkward and indifferent towards her mother. However, the child ends up fascinated with her mother even exclaiming the fact that her mother is actually hers and no one else’s. The mechanics of the poem are not very structured as Olds seems to almost always use a free verse style of writing. The poem “I Go Back to May 1937” is a poem of thirty lines that uses imagery to describe the scene of her parents as they depart into college together. The first nine lines beginning with an exploration of two adults signified by the terms "gates" and "colleges." Both adults are from two different backgrounds and locations. Olds uses visual language to depict the differences between the two adults. For example, the image of the man is depicted in terms of "clay walls." In contrast, the image of the man is depicted in terms of a "pillar made of tiny

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