I have done what you wanted to do, Walt Whitman,
Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing,
I and the other women this exceptional
act with the exceptional heroic body,
this giving birth, this glistening verb,
and I am putting my proud American boast
right here with the others.
—Sharon Olds, “The Language of the Brag,” Satan Says (1980)
It hasn’t been easy being Sharon Olds, especially in terms of the critical response to her work, which has been two-fold: to ignore her completely, or to lambast her for “exhibitionism.” Continue reading…
Saint Friend by Carl Adamshick | Tupelo Quarterly
If someone had the gumption to go around and ask everyday Americans to name a poem, nearly all of them would certainly supply an answer. One might hear, as a reply, Poe’s “The Raven” or Hughes’s “A Dream Deferred” or Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” But if this same pollster were to ask these citizens to name a single volume of poetry, a collection, how many would be able to come up with a title?
Twenty Poems That Could Save America by Tony Hoagland | The Rumpus
These essays form a slowly accumulating argument for the Hoagland’s vision of poetic efficacy. He is itemizing the major components of successful (and enlightening and potentially useful) poems in order to establish the premises for his larger argument. Like many essay collections, Twenty Poems can be viewed as a subtle manifesto, a whisper to action. If that’s so, then what is his argument? What action does he want us to take?