Sharon Olds


The thing about poets (and writers) is that, usually you read their stuff and love it, and then you meet them, and it's like, "Ugh: I liked you better when I only knew your writing." That's not true for Sharon Olds. Sharon Olds is so kick-ass. And, I imagine, that was also true for Galway Kinnell. I had the honor of meeting Sharon Olds at a university where I was teaching several years ago. I facilitated a Q&A after she read, in front of a lot of people. I was nervous. I had read and taught Sharon Olds for years, and loved her. But then, when I was on stage with her in front of so many, it was as if we were alone. I actually said to her (still in front of the people), "Oh man: we're the same person, just different ages." She's written a poem for the New Yorker: an ode to her friend Galway Kinnell, who died last fall in Sheffield, VT. This is a beautiful poem. It is a perfect circle, which may be the last perfect thing left.