Happy Birthday, Sharon Olds, born 19 November 1942
- I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky.
- Well, one thing I’m really interested in, when I’m writing, is being accurate.
- Metaphors come to me – similes most of all. This is even if I’m just writing an ordinary poem – I mean a poem that isn’t about death or love. When I focus on an idea or a thing, similes arise in my mind. They feel to me as if they come out of the end of my pen. I have no power to bring them on – except by sitting down and writing, but then it’s up to them. It really does feel to me as though they’re coming out of the pen as a result of this attention.
- I think this is true for all artists. My senses are very important to me.
- I’m not sure that the benefit – as a writer and as a citizen – that I would get from reading at least the front page of the Times every day or every other day would outweigh the depression.
- My first drafts are not stream of consciousness; they aren’t free-writing in any way; they aren’t prose—a lot of poets start with prose, but I don’t. For me, they’re mostly four beat lines. If I start and I go wrong, I start writing it over.
- Take your vitamins. Exercise. Just work to love yourself as much as you can—not more than the people around you but not so much less.
Sharon Olds is an American poet. She is the recipient of many awards, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award, and she is the first American woman to win the TS Eliot Prize. Her collections include Satan Says, The Dead and the Living, and The Unswept Room.
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