Sharon Olds: from Psalms to Satan Says

Another common trait of confessional poetry is that the speaker will wear some form f mask to keep the author a small margin away from the speaker. While Olds doesn’t create a mask directly, she never directly reveals that it is her in her many narrative poems. The confessional movement wasn’t spurred by grand event but was strongly influenced by Sylvia Plant, Allen Ginsberg, and Robert Lowell. Olds TLD begin her work at the peak of the movement in the sass’s and 1 ass’s.
While she did not have a part in the creation of the movement, she did carry on the movement into the present day. Poet: Sharon Olds is best known for her deeply personal content and her fearlessness tit vulgarities and the comfort with which she approaches sensitive subjects such as the dark side of family Interactions and sex. She Is driven to write by her philosophy shared in an Interview with Michael Lackey that If someone Is given the gift to write, that they should give that gift to the world.
In that same interview, Olds states that poetry should “get out there. ” The events that likely created this poet were her childhood experiences that appear to be present in her writing. Analysis: In the loss-of-innocence poem, “l Go Back to May 1 937,” imagery is dominant. From he beginning, the imagery of the narrator’s parents Is seemingly harmless. The father Is seen strolling under the arch of the college gate, leaving his college life behind him, not caring at all. The arch Is a large, proud structure symbolic of the father’s large, proud nature.
The father’s face being described as arrogant, handsome, and blind is a kind of direct characterization; the narrator views the father as arrogant and blind. In contrast, the mother is seen standing still, not going anywhere. Holding books on her hip, she’s holding on to the college, not yet ready to leave. The structure the mother Is standing In front of is made up of a multitude of small bricks, showing a delicate and complex nature. The mother’s face Is described as hungry, pretty, and blank. Hungry describes her want for more, be it marriage or to stay at the college.
Blank is one of many methods Olds uses to describe the parents as naive and innocent. The parents are frequently described as innocent and incapable of knowing what their futures would hold. It almost appears that the narrator is excusing a crime not yet committed. Shortly after, the poem turns bleak In an Instant. In line 19, the chance for any good to come of the poem Is lost. The feeling of hopelessness that has set in as, despite all the pleading the narrator can muster, this is Just a memory and her cries fall silent.
The tension grows until the narrator takes a turn for the violent when describing the striking together of the paper dolls, still taking responsibility away from the parents by implying they were powerless to the horrible things they would do. The poem ends in resignation as she give up her pleas and tells the parents to do what they will do. In “1954,” Sharon Olds uses a frantic, fearful tone to describe the account of a onus girl hearing the media surrounding the Burton Abbott case, a murder and alleged molestation in California. The entirety of the poem circles around fear.
From the very first line “The dirt scared me,” the narrator describes all of the things that cause her to be afraid surrounding the case. The flow of the poem is very rocky and awkward because of the broken sentences and enjambment of the lines. This creates a frantic mood, almost as if the narrator is speaking out of breath. The fear the narrator heaps on herself worsens with each connection she makes to the victim. The speaker connects her acne to the eczema on the victim who she feared was killed for not being flawless as suggested by the marked paper found on the body.
The speaker describes Burton Abbott in plain words to stress his normal appearance. The narrator says that Abbott “took away what I’d thought I could count on about evil,” meaning that the narrator realizes that evil can manifest itself in any form, even the most innocent looking. Fear turns to pity when the narrator begins speaking of Abbot’s execution. In the line “death to the person, death to the home planet,” Olds s protesting the eye-for-an-eye punishment that Abbott was to receive.

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