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November 22, 2018


#Poetry Pulitzer Prize 2013 Sharon Olds

by NancyElin



Sharon Olds – poet

  1. She won Pulitzer Prize poetry 2013
  2. She Won  T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2012 which what is considered
  3. to be one of the world’s most important poetry awards.
  4. Her prize winning collection was Stag’s Leap.



  1. When her husband of 30 years left her for another woman,
  2. Sharon Olds wrote poems as a way of coping with the heartbreak.
  3. Mother-of-two Sharon Olds, 70, split with her husband when she was 55.
  4. Miss Olds promised her children she would not publish
  5. …anything about the divorce for 10 years afterwards.
  6. She finally unveiled the collection, entitled Stag’s Leap
  7. after the former couple’s favourite wine – 15 years later.



My thoughts:

  1. I’ve  discovered several literary reviews.
  2. …that offer me some great reading opportunities.
  3. The Sewanee Review is one one them.
  4. It is an American literary journal established in 1892.
  5. It is the oldest continuously published quarterly in the United States.
  6. It publishes original fiction and poetry, essays, reviews, and literary criticism.
  7. This morning I read Sharon’s poem To Our Miscarried One, Age Fifty Now.
  8. Having been the long awaited baby after several miscarriages
  9. …I can only imagine what my mother was enduring
  10. …that she never expressed.
  11. Sharon Olds expresses the heartbreak.
  12. If you are not a regular reader of poetry
  13. …I hope this poem will convince you to read poems.
  14. They are the heart….speaking.


To Our Miscarried One, Age Fifty Now

Sharon Olds

Fall 2018

Every twenty years, I turn
and address you, not knowing who you were
or what you were. You had been three months
in utero, when our friend came to visit
with her virus which I caught and you died—or it may be
your inviableness had been conceived with you—
you might have been, all along, going to
last fourteen weeks, though I had felt,
as we lay on the living-room floor, the couch
pushed in front of the door at the pure gold
hour at the core of your big sister’s
nap, that you had taken deep.
I kept my feet up on the couch an hour—there was a
recipe, for a boy, then:
abstain until the egg emerges, then
send the long-tailed whippersnapper, the
boy-making sperm, in, to get there
before the girls, who are slow but if they
get there early can wait. The boy
we conceived a month after you died
made, years later,
an ink X
on a cushion of that sofa, as if to declare
war on sisters and mothers, the oppressors
of the male. Hello, male, or female,
or both, or neither. Hi mystery,
hi matter, hi spirit moving through matter.
Twenty years ago, when your father
left me, I wanted to hold hands with you,
my friend in death, the dead one
I knew best—and not at all—
who had deserted this life or been driven from it,
I your garden, oasis, desert.
And I’d never laid down a stone for you,
you seemed like a byway on the path from your sister
to your brother. What was half-formed
in you, what was partial—how close I could have
felt to you if I had known what a hidden
story I still was to myself. Dear one,
I feel as if now you are my elder, having died—
though without having breathed—so much earlier than I.
By the time I saw you, you were in the water
already, the sacred toilet-water green
of your grave. Let me call you kin, lost one,
let me call you landsman.
Read more from poetry, Pulitzer
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 22 2018

    I like the idea of quoting poems occasionally. This ones great. Thanks!

    • Nov 22 2018

      I keep re-reading this poem.
      “… I’d never laid down a stone for you,
      you seemed like a byway on the path from your sister.”
      I’m investigating the Pulitzer Prize winners Poetry 2010s…
      and hope just to enjoy the beauty in the poets words.
      Sometimes I’m in such a rush to read a (classic) book and tick it off a list
      …that I miss so much good contemporary writing.
      That’s why I started some subscriptions to literary review magazines.
      What is THE literary review magazine in Canada?

  2. tracybham
    Nov 22 2018

    That is a very moving poem, Nancy. Thanks for sharing it. My mother had a miscarriage between my birth and my sister’s, and I have always wondered about the difference that would have made in my life … and the rest of my family.

    • Nov 22 2018

      I have the exact same situation and feeling.
      I wonder if I would have had other brothers or sisters.
      Such a strange sensation…don’t you think?
      I’m trying to read more 20-21st C poets…there are so many voices
      yet to be heard…I just have to find out where to find them! 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tracy.


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