Mark Strand, Collected Poems

Generally, when I read poetry, I will read a few of an author’s poems within a literary magazine or a small collection like a chapbook, but I ingested this enormous body of work almost all at once, and while I doubt I comprehended or appreciated any of the poems fully due to this manner of reading, I’m  not sure that my failure to fully absorb the content means that this approach to reading poetry should be written off, particularly not for those readers who also write (as I try to do). Continue reading

On Sharon Olds’s “Ode To The Tampon”

I was really pleased to find a selection of Sharon Olds’s work in the most recent Winter issue of Tin House. I am always struck by how she addresses the topic of female sexuality in a way that manages frankness without sacrificing lyricism; I am always equally impressed by how fearless she is  in the face of taboos, of how she takes the confessional approach to poetry to its furthest extremes, at times seeming to almost turn her body inside out for the sake of a poem: she not only talks about sex in general but is courageous enough to present her particular experience of it, and that experience is important because it challenges the idea that raw sexual power is available only to those of a certain biological sex, gender, body type, or age.   Continue reading