Sharon Olds divides this new book into five sections – ‘Blood’, ‘Tin’, ‘ ‘Straw’, ‘ ‘Fire’ and ‘Light’ – each made up of fourteen poems whose dominant imagery is drawn from one of these elements. The poems are rooted in different moments of an ordinary life and weave back and forth in time. Each section suggests the progression of the making of a soul cleansed by blood, forged by fire, suffused by light.
Unafraid to confront the ecstatic or the brutal side of a woman’s experience, Sharon Olds transforms the subjects with an alchemist’s art, using language that is alternately casual and startling, fierce and transcendent. This is an intensely moving collection by one of America’s finest poets.