Cover Image: Balladz


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Member Reviews

I found the poems in this collection to be hard to follow and often repetitive. While there were some good lines and some good use of language, for the most part I was too busy deciphering what the author was trying to say to actually be able to enjoy it. Further, the author often seems self-obsessed, and her poems in which she wonders if she's selfish come off as whiny.
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A fine book by one of our finest contemporary poets, who has influenced so many as a writer (and as a teacher at NYU). I admire the way Olds is never afraid to experiment here--she tries so many forms and strategies.  The subject matter of the collection is poignant.
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October 5, 2022

Sharon Olds’ latest book BALLADZ was published yesterday. It is a tour de force of mature, startling, haunting poems that reach over time from the speaker’s childhood to the recent pandemic, from first loves to present day romance and loss, concluding with a series of wise, powerful elegies. The book also plays homage to poetic lineage, most notably a suite of poems in conversation with Emily Dickinson. Olds also acknowledges a slew of poetry friendships and their sustaining power. Here is just one example in which she writes a poem “like a mate for Galway’s ‘Bear.’”

And here is the late Galway Kinnell’s poem:

Congratulations, Sharon!
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What a privilege, to read this late-in-life book of Old's poems about love, relationships, and the worn beauty of the human body both in life and in death. Having read her previous work, I am amazed at how far and deep her work still reaches. poems go. Not to be missed. Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC.
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Sharon Olds is just the best -- her poems are consistently so beautiful, so raw, so teeming with razor-sharp imagery and fearlessness. She has not lost a single bit of her edge, nor her willingness to explore her wounds. What a gift!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. If you are already acquainted  with Sharon Olds' work, this collection is like coming home to a warm, familiar place. Olds, who doesn't shy away from laying bare her wounds and dissecting them in minute detail, takes on the pandemic in the first section with stark quarantine poems. The middle section is composed of ballads in the style of Emily Dickinson, which are both brief and luminous, and within the entire collection runs a new feeling of Olds confronting her white privilege as she reflects on her past. I wasn't disappointed with this collection and have followed her work for the last few decades. In her 70s now, Olds hasn't lost her spark, and her long sentences and striking imagery show well in this collection.
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