With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.
Poems about her divorce just won Sharon Olds a Pulitzer Prize. She joins us.
We know. Divorce is no stranger in America. A lot of marriages end that way. But, it’s different when it happens to you. When it derails your life. It’s personal.
Just ask the Pulitzer committee. This month, they commended poet Sharon Olds for her collection “Stag’s Leap.” A book of poems that looks to answer the question, “What do you do when – 30 years in – your partner wants no more?” The committee called it “a book of unflinching poems … [on] love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge.” Wow.
This hour, On Point: love after parting. Pulitzer Prize-winner Sharon Olds.
Excerpt: ‘Stag’s Leap ‘by Sharon Olds
Sharon Olds Reads Her Poems:
The HealersWhen they say, If there are any doctors aboard,would they make themselves known, I remember when my thenhusband would rise, and I would get to bethe one he rose from beside. They say nowthat it does not work, unless you are equal.And after those first thirty years,I was not the one he wanted to rise fromor return to—not I but she who would alsorise, when such were needed. Now I see them,lifting, side by side, on wide,medical, wading-bird wings—like storks with thedoctor bags of like-loves-likedangling from their beaks. Oh well. It was the wayit was, he did not feel happy when wordswere called for, and I stood.
From The Reading List
The Huffington Post: Pulitzer Prize-Winner Sharon Olds Talks Poetry, Divorce — “Considered to be one of America’s greatest living poets, Olds has spent more than 30 years writing confessional poetry about sex and love, childbirth and death. Was writing about her divorce any different — more painful, perhaps — than her prior works?”
The Concord Monitor: My Turn: Sharon Olds writes poems of the heart’s knowledge — “So this book does not simply present the heartbreak of a failed marriage. It shows how over time Olds comes ‘to look at love in a new way,’ moving beyond her initial hurt to a larger vision of forgiveness and even gratitude, and reclaiming herself as a loving spirit. Poem by poem as she makes this journey, opening her ‘strictured heart,’ she teaches us how profound and generous love’s influence can be.”