Michael Ondaatje has called Sharon Olds's poetry 'pure fire in the hands' and cheered the 'roughness and humour and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss'. This rich selection - made by the author - exhibits those qualities in poem after poem, reflecting, moreover, an exciting experimentation with rhythm and language and a movement toward an embrace beyond the personal. Subjects are revisited - the pain of childhood, adolescent sexual stirrings, the fulfilment of marriage, the wonder of children - but each re-casting penetrates ever more deeply, enriched by new perceptions and conceits. A powerful distillation of the best work from one of America's most gifted and widely read poets, drawn from her seven published volumes, this is a testament to a remarkable writer's depth, range and continuing development.
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