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Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Series)

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Poems examine life as a child, a woman, and a mother; death; and our relationship to the world. This book, Olds's first, was published when she was 37, and it launched her Pulitzer-winning career. I am trying to write my way out of the closed box redolent of cedar. Satan comes to me in the locked box and says, I'll get you out. Say My father is a shit. I say my father is a shit a Poems examine life as a child, a woman, and a mother; death; and our relationship to the world. This book, Olds's first, was published when she was 37, and it launched her Pulitzer-winning career. I am trying to write my way out of the closed box redolent of cedar. Satan comes to me in the locked box and says, I'll get you out. Say My father is a shit. I say my father is a shit and Satan laughs and says, It's opening.


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Poems examine life as a child, a woman, and a mother; death; and our relationship to the world. This book, Olds's first, was published when she was 37, and it launched her Pulitzer-winning career. I am trying to write my way out of the closed box redolent of cedar. Satan comes to me in the locked box and says, I'll get you out. Say My father is a shit. I say my father is a shit a Poems examine life as a child, a woman, and a mother; death; and our relationship to the world. This book, Olds's first, was published when she was 37, and it launched her Pulitzer-winning career. I am trying to write my way out of the closed box redolent of cedar. Satan comes to me in the locked box and says, I'll get you out. Say My father is a shit. I say my father is a shit and Satan laughs and says, It's opening.

30 review for Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Series)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This is a vivid, unforgettable set of debut poems - Sharon Olds' first published collection. She covers childhood, womanhood, mothering, and a journey period. The abuse she and her sister suffered from their father, the somewhat shifty presence of her own mother, her reluctance to be a mother and then being inside of it, all of it is honest and descriptively told. A few excerpts from random poems: "I did not understand his doom or my taste for the big dangerous body." "I have known the Republican This is a vivid, unforgettable set of debut poems - Sharon Olds' first published collection. She covers childhood, womanhood, mothering, and a journey period. The abuse she and her sister suffered from their father, the somewhat shifty presence of her own mother, her reluctance to be a mother and then being inside of it, all of it is honest and descriptively told. A few excerpts from random poems: "I did not understand his doom or my taste for the big dangerous body." "I have known the Republican living rooms...." "Once you lose someone it is never exactly the same person who comes back." "I would kill for you. I remind myself it won't be necessary." "She was home, then. This was her place, the one of all the others where she feared to walk, where someone had always arrived first, and would hold it against her at any cost."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I've liked Sharon Olds for years, and poets and poetry readers have recommended this, her first book, as 1) her best and 2) one not to be missed. I'm right there with them on the "not to be missed" but maybe The Dead and the Living is still my favorite, just because it was the first book of hers that I read. I very much appreciate the final poem, "Prayer," asking to "be faithful to the central meanings" of all the poems in this book, and there follows a list of themes and images that do stay cent I've liked Sharon Olds for years, and poets and poetry readers have recommended this, her first book, as 1) her best and 2) one not to be missed. I'm right there with them on the "not to be missed" but maybe The Dead and the Living is still my favorite, just because it was the first book of hers that I read. I very much appreciate the final poem, "Prayer," asking to "be faithful to the central meanings" of all the poems in this book, and there follows a list of themes and images that do stay central in later books, as I know from reading them! Sex, children, childbirth, fears, the centrality of woman's experience. A few images: "hot needle of / milk piercing my nipple," "bright / sweat glazing us with resin." Resin and rosin repeat in this book, daughters, mothers, water. Satan is here, briefly. Walt Whitman, more than once. Oh, how I love "Five-Year-Old Boy." I will quote from the end of it: .... He stands on the porch, peeing into the grass, watching a bird fly around the house, and ends up pissing on the front door. Afterwards he twangs his penis. Long after the last drops fly into the lawn, he stands there gently rattling his dick, his face full of intelligence, his white, curved forehead slightly puckered in thought, his eyes clear, gazing out over the pond, his mouth firm and serious; abstractedly he shakes himself once more and the house collapses to the ground behind him. I had to pause after this and sit there laughing, gently laughing in utter joy. I was giggling all through and watching, as the mother/poet must have watched, in quiet respect for the 5-year-old boy, but then I laughed out loud. I loved reading this now, knowing it was her first book, and spying the odd, sometimes weak line breaks (some she says she regrets, but they seem to reinforce natural rhythms of thought, breathing, or speech, so I don't really mind them), those central obsessions and meanings and that's something I so admire and, nowadays, yearn for in contemporary poetry--meanings, the willingness and ability to mean.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Tsang

    Incredible. THIS IS A FIRST BOOK SOMEHOW.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annabelle

    Dazzling, brutal. Sharon Olds ripped my heart out and patched it back together, just as good but not quite the same.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zoë Danielle

    "Once you lose someone it is never exactly the same person who comes back" -Feared Drowned It is a bit odd to be writing a review of a book I have already written an exam on, but I realized that even though I had covered this book in my English course "Modern American Poetry" it was the one book of poetry, because it was the last we covered during a feverish rush of end of the semester, that I hadn't properly read. So because Olds is talented and deserving of a proper read, I decided to sit down an "Once you lose someone it is never exactly the same person who comes back" -Feared Drowned It is a bit odd to be writing a review of a book I have already written an exam on, but I realized that even though I had covered this book in my English course "Modern American Poetry" it was the one book of poetry, because it was the last we covered during a feverish rush of end of the semester, that I hadn't properly read. So because Olds is talented and deserving of a proper read, I decided to sit down and go through the book cover to cover for the first time. It says a lot about a writer that you want to read their works again- after completing a course in which they were covered. Usually books have all joy sucked out of them by dry analysis but the thing about Olds is that the more you read her poetry, the more layers you discover. Olds is a confessional poet, following in the tradition of Lowell, Plath and Sexton (whom were also covered in my course). Her poetry covers topics such as family life, relationships, and particularly in "Satan Says" the abuse that she experienced at the hands of her father, while her mother (compared to a pimp in the title poem) stood idly by. Satan Says has a distinct narrative that you miss if you read only excerpts of it, as the poems occur in a chronological order. The book is also divided into four sections, each covering a different portion of Olds' life, from Daughter, to Woman, to Mother to Journey. It is a skilled way of dividing up the poetry and it is clear she put a lot of thought not only into the poems themselves, but how they are organized. This is her first book of poetry, and it has a rawness to it that I hope is not lost in subsequent work. Often when reading published poetry I find it has been polished to the point of being dull and emotionless- certainly not the case with Satan Says. The only way to describe this book is to say it is bloody and violent and fervent. It is also written from a uniquely female perspective- so although of course I would recommend her poetry to anyone, I am honestly not sure it would have the same impact on a male reader (and since my class had only two males both who rarely attended I didn't get much insight into that). Olds also has a very interesting way of playing with language, such as in "The Love Object" where she says "I am taking the word love away from the boy" as if she is recognizing both the limitations and the beauty of language. This beautiful self-awareness is what epitomizes Satan Says for me- life may be terrible or wonderful, but whatever it is, Olds does not shriek away from it but instead faces it head on.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leanna

    I've been meaning to try Sharon Olds for awhile--she has such a reputation as the queen of confessionalism. This is her first book, published in 1980. I found this book to be very uneven. There were some poems that absolutely stunned me (the title poem is, in my opinion, far and away the best poem in the book, totally on a different level). These poems were raw and damning and surprising and full of unique metaphors. There were other poems that I sort of liked--perhaps the poem had one startling, I've been meaning to try Sharon Olds for awhile--she has such a reputation as the queen of confessionalism. This is her first book, published in 1980. I found this book to be very uneven. There were some poems that absolutely stunned me (the title poem is, in my opinion, far and away the best poem in the book, totally on a different level). These poems were raw and damning and surprising and full of unique metaphors. There were other poems that I sort of liked--perhaps the poem had one startling, original image. Then there were other poems that to me were almost caricatures, they were so steeped in what has now become the stereotype of contemporary confessional poetry. Although it is definitely true that when she was writing, this sort of material might have seemed really new. Her subject matter, in general, is very domestic and sexual and of the home, family, and lover. Olds has a Louise Gluckian air about her sometimes that I enjoy (often this is when a rare and dark sense of humor comes in). There is a definite ick factor to many of these poems. She seems to write a lot about her children's genitals... You know, several of her poems in this book have stayed with me, though, both the amazing ones and the ones I only kind of liked. That has to say something. Favorite poems: "Satan Says," "Love Fossil," "The Opening," "Indictment of Senior Officers," "Monarchs," and "Young Mothers I"

  7. 5 out of 5

    mr.fantasy

    -Satan Says (1980)- by Sharon Olds is a landmark book of modern and confessional poetry. It is important as an incredibly well-designed poetic, chronological narrative of a woman's experience. As expressed on the back cover of the book, "Few first books have had the power or the vigor of design of Sharon Olds's -Satan Says-." I completely agree with statement. This is unforgettable, powerful, of high value---poetry of the human experience. The book (and wonderful metaphor) is set up intriguingly -Satan Says (1980)- by Sharon Olds is a landmark book of modern and confessional poetry. It is important as an incredibly well-designed poetic, chronological narrative of a woman's experience. As expressed on the back cover of the book, "Few first books have had the power or the vigor of design of Sharon Olds's -Satan Says-." I completely agree with statement. This is unforgettable, powerful, of high value---poetry of the human experience. The book (and wonderful metaphor) is set up intriguingly and perfectly through the title piece, 'Satan Says,' as we'll follow Olds through the chapters of her Life: I. Daughter; II. Woman; III. Mother; IV. Journey. This noted, the book should be read as a whole, from beginning to end. Individually the gross majority of poems are fantastic and independently so, at least 80%. And as a whole work, this book is high-art and significant in the world of poetry. Personally, I found this book fairly, for lack of a better term, psychedelic, from my vantage point as a man and as being a young boy during the time when this was written. As for the rating, I struggle to not be overly enthusiastic and give out too many 5 stars, but after re-reading this just now and considering how this places comparatively with most poetry you'll find on the shelf I emphatically give this a 5/5.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marion

    I was introduced to Sharon Olds' poetry via her awesome poem about birth, "The Language of the Brag". After reading her magnficent retort in the last verse to Whitman and Ginsberg, "I have done what you wanted to do Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing, I and the other women this exceptional act with the exceptional heroic body, this giving birth, this glistening verb, and I am putting my proud American boast right here with the others," I was a true fan of her honest, heartfelt I was introduced to Sharon Olds' poetry via her awesome poem about birth, "The Language of the Brag". After reading her magnficent retort in the last verse to Whitman and Ginsberg, "I have done what you wanted to do Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing, I and the other women this exceptional act with the exceptional heroic body, this giving birth, this glistening verb, and I am putting my proud American boast right here with the others," I was a true fan of her honest, heartfelt poems. She has no equal!! She writes what every woman thinks but cannot or will not put into words on paper. I'm reminded of the quote my Muriel Rukeyser: "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open." Sharon Olds' poems rip us apart. They tear at our very being, but most of all, they tell one woman's truth, which becomes every woman's truth. We are taught to be polite, don't make waves, fit in...but Ms. Olds banishes the old stereotypes and pours the very blood in her heart out onto the paper over her words and splits the myths and fallacies wide open. Do not read this book if you're expecting flowery verse. It's for people willing to have their soul and spirit touched and changed----for the better.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Meyerhofer

    "Satan Says" is the first collection of Olds' poetry which I have read (although I've come across her poems once or twice in anthologies). I found the poems in "Satan Says" to be not only startling and brutally honest, but beautifully crafted as well. Her work reminded me greatly of Marie Howe, another female poet writing on (among other things) the body's oft-ignored sensuality even in the face of an abusive world (or family). Her poems seem to fuse the simple craftsmanship and observational ta "Satan Says" is the first collection of Olds' poetry which I have read (although I've come across her poems once or twice in anthologies). I found the poems in "Satan Says" to be not only startling and brutally honest, but beautifully crafted as well. Her work reminded me greatly of Marie Howe, another female poet writing on (among other things) the body's oft-ignored sensuality even in the face of an abusive world (or family). Her poems seem to fuse the simple craftsmanship and observational talents of haiku with the frankness of Anne Sexton, giving us a treatise as much related to the body, childbirth, sexuality, dying, and aggression as to metaphysics. Genuine and powerful, highly recommended!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    It's been a long time since I actively sought out new poetry to read, but Sharon Olds changed that in a flash. Published the year I was born, "Satan Says" finally convinced me that there is such a thing as Women's Lit, unique from the male canon. This book is a painstaking detail of woman--both particular and generalized in one of the best executions of craft I've ever read. If you've never had the pleasure of Mrs. Olds' company, this is a great place to start. Still not sure? Listen to this rec It's been a long time since I actively sought out new poetry to read, but Sharon Olds changed that in a flash. Published the year I was born, "Satan Says" finally convinced me that there is such a thing as Women's Lit, unique from the male canon. This book is a painstaking detail of woman--both particular and generalized in one of the best executions of craft I've ever read. If you've never had the pleasure of Mrs. Olds' company, this is a great place to start. Still not sure? Listen to this recitation of her poem "Topography," delivered by the great Garrison Keillor. http://www.alternium.net/sOldsTopogra...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    It seems Sharon Olds' first published book of poetry is one of her best. Published in 1980 I think the context is significant in terms of how we can appreciate and digest the poems themselves. Sure, I was born three years after it hit the shelves but Olds' reflections, particularly in the subsections Woman and Mother, are entirely generational and it's probably my own raging feminisms that enjoy the images of Olds as a young wife who almost subversively uses crisp, organic, and at times fatal im It seems Sharon Olds' first published book of poetry is one of her best. Published in 1980 I think the context is significant in terms of how we can appreciate and digest the poems themselves. Sure, I was born three years after it hit the shelves but Olds' reflections, particularly in the subsections Woman and Mother, are entirely generational and it's probably my own raging feminisms that enjoy the images of Olds as a young wife who almost subversively uses crisp, organic, and at times fatal images to render the reproduced normalcy of her surroundings significant.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alfredo Ocaranza

    Some of the riskiest, most dangerous poetry I've ever read. Absolutely brilliant

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Childhood. Romance. Motherhood. Poetry. Sounds awful, doesn't it? It's not. Fierce, crude, violent, raw poetry that makes the familiar into something weird and frightening, makes the strange world of our biology and behavior somehow recognizable again. If Olds is sometimes accused of writing "mommy poetry" this rips through both and leaves you wounded but wise.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meher

    After multiple rereads, I've come to the conclusion that I have lived a miserable life without Sharon Olds' poetry.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kit

    METAL. Though, except for a few poems here, including the title poem, I was even more bowled over by The Dead and the Living.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Weston

    This book is as close to perfect as I have ever seen, I think. Nothing I can say will describe or do it justice so I will only tell you two short anecdotes to help illumate its impact on me. 1. This was the first time I have ever had to stop marking pages halfway through a book, because it was becoming pointless to have every other page marked. 2. Immediately after finishing this book I googled "best ever debut poetry collections" hoping desperately (and unsuccessfully) to find an article so I coul This book is as close to perfect as I have ever seen, I think. Nothing I can say will describe or do it justice so I will only tell you two short anecdotes to help illumate its impact on me. 1. This was the first time I have ever had to stop marking pages halfway through a book, because it was becoming pointless to have every other page marked. 2. Immediately after finishing this book I googled "best ever debut poetry collections" hoping desperately (and unsuccessfully) to find an article so I could either have my belief confirmed or berate whomever might've made such a list without this book. This book ties together so many elements of a woman's life, from daughterhood to womanhood to motherhood in such a stark way that at the time of its publishing was so rare. I don't think its influence on poetry today cannot possibly be overstated (OK once I got started I guess I couldn't not give you just a touch of my own effusive praise).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristina (msbunnyears)

    I'm a little disappointed in this. I came in with no expectations and left a little confused. I love the way Sharon talks, but I feel like not much of it made much sense for what she was trying to say. I may give it another go another time down the road, but for now, I don't have much to say. It is her debut novel, so it could be just that it wasn't well done, but I hear her other work is good, and I may check her out in the future!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    "Once you lose someone it is never exactly the same person who comes back." -Feared Drowned I read Satan Says almost 2 years ago for a class and it's one of those that just sticks with you. Absolutely incredible!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Abby Wargo

    This book was recommended to me after I wrote a poem in the same vein. The subject matter is personal and poignant, and her voice is distinct and powerful. I loved every second of reading these poems, and I know they will be something I return to again and again.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ian Muller

    Dark, visceral poetry. Sometimes sexual, sometimes violent. While my experience with poetry is limited, I've enjoyed both collections I've read from Olds. Satan Says works as a good primer for horror fans skeptical of stepping outside their preferred genre. Some imagery will cling to you.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Xmusicsnobx

    One burningly honest confession after another, after another. Some of these shook me to my core, some of them made me uncomfortable, and some of them did absolutely nothing to me. But all in all, pretty gripping.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Klapka

    For the majority, this book sucks.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I once read a couple of Sharon Olds poems in a college poetry class I took last year, but since then I have been wanting to read more. I was super happy that I scored this book at a used bookstore and then immediately started reading it. Sadly this book was way to short for me, but had what I refer to as the uncomfortable poetry that I know Olds for. Which I kind of love that her poems make my skin crawl.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    A piece with varying tones but one main theme, the female form. The complex arrangements of femininity. From the outset the language is most clever though the mindscape from which it echoes is a wasteland. It lay in ruins, almost barren, except for the atrocities germinating, littering the terrifying place. I do not know the authors background though she writes as if traumatized. A dysfunction between her & her parents often resurfaces throughout. It seems passed on as though through the pan A piece with varying tones but one main theme, the female form. The complex arrangements of femininity. From the outset the language is most clever though the mindscape from which it echoes is a wasteland. It lay in ruins, almost barren, except for the atrocities germinating, littering the terrifying place. I do not know the authors background though she writes as if traumatized. A dysfunction between her & her parents often resurfaces throughout. It seems passed on as though through the pangs of breast milk. Though at times quite solemn, it is a wonderful premier. It packs great depth. The poet pulls no punches. Some poems are blood stained & some are as subtle as the residue of warfare smoke. It houses a diabolical sensuality which is not for the faint at heart. It is an unblinking nudity which dares the voyeur to a game of chicken, & she is an uncompromising opponent. At first glance who does not appreciate a good nude, but can you bare to see every grotesque imperfection once put under a microscope. For what she describes lends the piece to a fearlessness impacted by a coarse life which has stolen away any fiber of apprehensiveness. She describes in great detail the sensual intricacies of being a woman. Immersed in her organs, I am baptized in menstrual blood. It is very raw & intimate interaction. It is an invitation to witness the exorcism of demons under a Bacchic spell. A chronicling of the various stages of womanhood through the eyes of a wounded being which greets with the combination of self-inflicted wounds, & perhaps, damning injuries only by which the proximity & intimacy of family can incur. She disrobes bearing the unflinching nudity, she then sheds this flesh, revealing her organs including the reproductive ones. She extrapolates those as if to give wings to a burden which is both blessing & curse. She strips herself of the totality of this anatomy to reveal a quivering soul with the multidimensional diadem of a psyche with all the complexity & cloudiness of such an adornment. As she rids herself of these layers she douses the reader in her flesh, in her organs, in her burdens, curses, confessions, hysterical cackles & melancholy notes. It is sewn to me & I view this world as both a victim & a victor. It is a wash to whom the spoils reside with. It is a wonderful intimacy shared. It is a costume for which I am blessed to have dawned. It is a view I will always feel blessed to cherish.

  25. 4 out of 5

    SmarterLilac

    I've resisted putting my reviews of Sharon Olds' poems up on the Internet, mainly because I haven't had time to give these deep meditations proper appreciation. The other reason is that in these books there are invariably one or two poems that make me cry in the ugliest way imaginable, and I've haven't wanted to have that experience lately. I've read most of her books more than ten times a piece, so I was surprised that when I sat down to reread Satan Says, the Rosetta Stone of Olds' body of work I've resisted putting my reviews of Sharon Olds' poems up on the Internet, mainly because I haven't had time to give these deep meditations proper appreciation. The other reason is that in these books there are invariably one or two poems that make me cry in the ugliest way imaginable, and I've haven't wanted to have that experience lately. I've read most of her books more than ten times a piece, so I was surprised that when I sat down to reread Satan Says, the Rosetta Stone of Olds' body of work, what I was seeing, sadly for the first time, were subtle details my brain had skipped right over in the years before. And I thought of myself as an Olds' expert! It really is the little things that make give a poem its impact. In "The Indispensability of the Eyes," Olds writes, "Every year/my glasses got stronger. What went on at home/I couldn't bear to see." I can't recall noticing this line in my (many) rereadings of Olds' books, yet it seems to, like most of the poems here, serve a vital place in the piece as a whole in a mere two lines and fifteen words. I can't agree that Satan Says is Olds best book--that honor belongs to the magnificent The Gold Cell--but it's shockingly good, and now I know, better than I have given it credit for: a woman breaking out of the restrictions of her life to bring her art to the collective, without guilt, self-blame, or denial.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    After finally reading this inaugural collection that introduced the poetry world to Sharon Olds’ voice, I wish I could have been around to experience each of her collections as they came out. The lyric punch that she achieves in each poem is much like a real punch: the initial shock is numbing, then pain surfaces and finally, the place where you were hit begins a dull throb that pulses and reminds you of the impact every so often. A few even break the skin, leaving a scar to worry over for year After finally reading this inaugural collection that introduced the poetry world to Sharon Olds’ voice, I wish I could have been around to experience each of her collections as they came out. The lyric punch that she achieves in each poem is much like a real punch: the initial shock is numbing, then pain surfaces and finally, the place where you were hit begins a dull throb that pulses and reminds you of the impact every so often. A few even break the skin, leaving a scar to worry over for years. Olds accomplishes this complex reaction by making even the most brutal detail sing with the joy of language and by combining the unabashed honesty of an abuse survivor with a compassionate heart for both the abused and the abusers. For example, in the poem that gives this book its title, the speaker feels trapped because she is unable to name the nasty things her parents did to her; but as the character of Satan urges her to defile them, the “little cedar box” (3) she is stuck inside begins to open. However, in the end, she opts to stay in the box, because she will not completely discount that although her parents were cruel, she “loved/them, too” (4). This balance is what makes these poems rise above bitterness and begin to touch on common human experiences. Yes, I would have liked to been on this journey with her from the beginning, but I will settle for doing some backtracking so I can catch up on this bumpy, but moving, ride.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I don't read much poetry, but this is the only modern poet's book that I own. A preview: The Sisters of Sexual Treasure As soon as my sister and I got out of our mother's house, all we wanted to do was fuck, obliterate her tiny sparrow body and narrow grasshopper legs. The men's bodies were like our father's body! The massive hocks, flanks, thighs, elegant knees, long tapered calves- we could have him there, the steep forbidden buttock, backs of the knees the cock in our mouth, ah the cock in our mouth. _____ I don't read much poetry, but this is the only modern poet's book that I own. A preview: The Sisters of Sexual Treasure As soon as my sister and I got out of our mother's house, all we wanted to do was fuck, obliterate her tiny sparrow body and narrow grasshopper legs. The men's bodies were like our father's body! The massive hocks, flanks, thighs, elegant knees, long tapered calves- we could have him there, the steep forbidden buttock, backs of the knees the cock in our mouth, ah the cock in our mouth. _______________Like explores who discover a lost city, we went nuts with joy, undressed the men slowly and carefully, as if uncovering buried artifacts that proved our theory of the lost culture: that if Mother said it wasn't there, it was there.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Dutkiewicz, III

    With this collection, Olds brings her own brutal, sexual style of confessional poetry. Sharon Olds' debut is powerful, to say the least. Abuse, sex, and paternity are at the forefront of every poem (the book is broken up into four parts: Daughter, Woman, Mother, and Journeys) and they could not be more real. All poets lie, in some way, for the sake of the art form, but it would be hard to impugn Olds on anything written in Satan Says. Her risks, which have been unnecessary at some points in her With this collection, Olds brings her own brutal, sexual style of confessional poetry. Sharon Olds' debut is powerful, to say the least. Abuse, sex, and paternity are at the forefront of every poem (the book is broken up into four parts: Daughter, Woman, Mother, and Journeys) and they could not be more real. All poets lie, in some way, for the sake of the art form, but it would be hard to impugn Olds on anything written in Satan Says. Her risks, which have been unnecessary at some points in her career (looking at you The Gold Cell), are a trademark that makes her work unique. It is easy to see how this debut (!) cemented Sharon Olds as one of the modern day greats, and paved the way for the praise she would receive for years to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carolina

    Very intense, with very polemic subjects - like that of incest -, but also very interesting points of view on being a daughter, a woman, a mother. I especially loved some poems on motherhood - and wish to revisit them when I am a mother myself. However, i must say some of the most provocative poems sometimes did feel a bit like they were there just to be provocative, like it is hypothesized in the introduction. That I cannot know. But if that was the goal, it was achieved. They did make me uncom Very intense, with very polemic subjects - like that of incest -, but also very interesting points of view on being a daughter, a woman, a mother. I especially loved some poems on motherhood - and wish to revisit them when I am a mother myself. However, i must say some of the most provocative poems sometimes did feel a bit like they were there just to be provocative, like it is hypothesized in the introduction. That I cannot know. But if that was the goal, it was achieved. They did make me uncomfortable. Which is not to say they aren't art - quite on the contrary. Very good art. I may not agree or share most of the feelings the poet explores on this book, but it did make me think, which I believe is always a good thing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Roop

    If'n ya dig poetry this is a good one, but it suffers from the same problem a lot of poetry books suffer from. Far too many bleeding heart why don't you love me poems. Hey I digg em just like the rest of the world, but they get a little old after a while. With that being said, there is some sick prose written in this book. Pictures are painted with words. Things are read that cannot be unread and a few of these will make you utter the word "whoa" out loud after your done reading it. This one is If'n ya dig poetry this is a good one, but it suffers from the same problem a lot of poetry books suffer from. Far too many bleeding heart why don't you love me poems. Hey I digg em just like the rest of the world, but they get a little old after a while. With that being said, there is some sick prose written in this book. Pictures are painted with words. Things are read that cannot be unread and a few of these will make you utter the word "whoa" out loud after your done reading it. This one is worth the read and the time. One for the book shelf and one to be talked about after your done reading. Hats off to Ms. Olds for baring her soul on these pages for my enjoyment and my thought process.

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