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Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Series) Hardcover – June, 1980

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Commenting on Sharon Olds' debut, Linda Pastan wrote that Olds was "clearly a poet to be reckoned with." No kidding. Olds has gone on to create an impressively bold body of work. Notice here "The Language of the Brag," in which Olds describes the heroic deed of childbirth: "I have done what you wanted to do Walt Whitman/ . . . this glistening verb,/and I am putting my proud American boast/ right here with the others." Amen. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In Satan Says, Sharon Olds convincingly, and with astonishing vigor, presents a world which, if not always hostile, is never clear about which face , it will show her." -- American Book Review

Airport Hotel
Barometer
Coming Home After Vacation
Drowning
Encounter
Feared Drowned
First Night
Fish Story
Fishing Off Nova Scotia
Five-year-old-boy
Geography
The Housewives Watching Morning Tv
I Am The Shrink's Wife
I Could Not Tell
Indictment Of Senior Officers
The Indispensibility Of The Eyes
Infinite Bliss
The Language Of The Brag
Late
Love Between Us
Love Fossil
The Love Object
Monarchs
The Mother
Night Terrors
Nurse Whitman
The Opening
The Other Life
Photographs Courtesy Of The Fall River Historical Society
Pilgrimage
Portrait Of A Daughter
The Possessive
Prayer
Primitive
Quake Theory
Reading You
Republican Living Rooms
The Rising Daughter
Satan Says
Seventh Birthday Of The First Child
The Sisters Of Sexual Treasure
Solitary
Station
Sunday Night In The City
The Talk
That Year
Time-travel
To A Poet
Tricks
The Unborn
The Unjustly Punished Child
Young Mothers (1)
Young Mothers (2)
Young Mothers (4)
Young Mothers (5)
Copyright© 1998 Roth Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved -- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®
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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Hardcover: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Pittsburgh Pr (Txt); 1st edition (June 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822934132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822934134
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,914,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael Meyerhofer on June 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
"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!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant, sad and utterly endearing first collection of poetry by one of North America's most amazing and blistering narrative poets. Michael Ondaatje says, "Sharon Olds's poems are pure fire in the hands--risky, on the verge of falling, and in the end leaping up. I love the roughness and humor and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss." --look also at Gary Short's "Flying Over Sonny Liston"--wonderful boyhood poems set against a flat Nevada landscape--
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Homer on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This collection handles even the most disturbing personal matters in ways which are both accessible and enlightening to the reader. As human and inspired as her later books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marion VINE VOICE on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Sharon Olds' poetry by her 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 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 open. 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jak Wilde on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I had a friend read another collection of Sharon Olds poems and then told me, "I tried to read it at work, but I couldn't because all the poems were about sex! Not just a few, but all of them!" My friend was right, in a way. (And, in case you're wondering, I tried to warn her.) Most of the poems that Sharon Olds writes have something to do with sex. But I think it's more like these poems look at everything through the lens of sexuality rather than simply being sex-obsessed.

I have both a praise and a warning about these poems. The amazing thing beyond the skill with which Sharon Olds crafts her poetry and the power of the images she uses is her ability to look at things that the rest of us close our eyes to or else just never ever talk about. She is able to write poetry about the sexuality of her parents and theirs and the sexuality of her children as well. I can understand how for some people this can be very disconcerting. Sharon Olds walks through important societal taboos as if they simply didn't exist. But it doesn't seem to me to be simply about the shock value. It's just the lens that she uses to make sense of things. She uses it very well.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
The poetry in this collection is dark, very dark. There are depictions of child abuse, murder, sexual promiscuity, drug abuse and domestic violence. For example, the first part of the poem that begins on page 6 is

The year of the mask of blood, my father hammering on the glass door to get in was the year they found her body in the hills, in a shallow grave, naked, white as mushroom, partially decomposed, raped, murdered, the girl from my class.

That was the year my mother took us and hid us so that he could not get at us when she told him to leave; so there were no more tyings by the wrist to the chair, no more denial of food or the forcing of foods, the head held back, down the throat at the restaurant, the shame of vomited buttermilk down the sweater with its shame of new breasts.

The poem with the title "The Language of the Brag" depicts childbirth, yet it does not describe a happy event. There are no happy events described in this book, what you see here is some of the most brutal sides of life. If you are comfortable with reading about such things, then you can enjoy this poetry. However, if you prefer some sweetness and light, even if it has to be sugar-coated, then you will not like these poems.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really creepy. There is a thing as TMI and I think Sharon Olds passed that point a while ago. There are some good poems in here, but many of them had me cringing. It's mostly related to sex or how her dad abused her. I gave this away right after I no longer needed it for class when usually I keep poetry/literature books.
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