Monthly Archives: October 2016

Thrilling unloveliness

I love to be a little

disgusting, to go as far as I can

into the thrilling unloveliness

of an elderwoman’s aging.

    Sharon Olds , Ode (from here) 

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The poet responds to questions about childhood

She [ Sharon Olds] is no longer evasive, as she once was, about the fact that her poems are based on her own experience. “It never crossed my mind anyone would think that anyone would make up the stuff I was writing about,” she told me. But she is deeply protective of that experience; her inability to talk about many of the same aspects of her life that her readers feel themselves most familiar with is as pronounced as an allergy or a phobia. “I think I can only communicate about that time in poems,” she said, after a pause, when I asked her a question about her childhood. Later, when I wanted to know what kinds of families her parents had come from, Olds demurred. “The edge of the cliff! It’s crumbling!” she said, flapping her hands as if to keep herself from tumbling off a precipice. I tried again, asking how her parents met—or, rather, I asked if I could ask. Olds looked at me with game good humor. “No!” she said, letting out a peal of laughter.

Alexandra Schwartz, Sharon Olds Sings the Body Electric: The poet discusses her new collection in praise of everything from tampons to oral sex.

The New Yorker , Sept 22 2016 (from here) 

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The power of the single object

 . .  The pleasure of taking a walk in the forest has disappeared for me because the first tree on a sidewalk in Paris is already enough. That’s enough for me in the way of trees; to see two of them would make me afraid. I used to want to go on trips, but the problem now of going or not going leaves me completely cold. The curiosity to see something is reduced, because a glass on a table astonishes me much more than before.

If the glass there in front of me astonishes me more than all the glasses I’ve seen in paintings, and if I think that even the greatest marvel of architecture couldn’t impress me more than this glass, there’s really no need for me to go all the way to India to see this or that temple, when I have so many of them in front of me. But if this glass becomes the marvel of marvels, all the glasses on earth become marvels of marvels, too. And other objects, too. So, in limiting yourself to a single glass, you have a much better notion of all the other objects than if you had wanted to do everything.

In having a quarter of an inch of something, you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you had pretended to be doing the whole sky. Against that, simply trying to draw a glass as you see it seems like a fairly modest undertaking. But because you know that even that is almost impossible, you can’t say whether it’s modesty or pride. So everything turns around in circles.

David Sylvester talks to Alberto Giacometti  in a translation by Paul Auster, The Guardian, Sat 21st June 2003

(from here)

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