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The theme of Sharon Olds' fifth volume of poetry, The Wellspring is family and the sexual and sensual nature of the creation and sustenance of life--most often her own. From a time in her mother's life that preceded her own birth ("half of me/was deep in her body, dyed egg") to her father's testicles ("my brothers/and sisters are there, swimming by the cinerous/millions") to her son (who "waited inside me so many years/egg in my side before I was born"), her place in the reproductive life of her family is paramount. Even when the ostensible subject of a poem is as public as a campus antiwar demonstration, as in "May 1968," the real topic is creation and procreation: "The mounted police moved, near us/while we sang ... /if my period did not come tonight/I was pregnant." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The subjects covered in Olds's (The Father) new collection will be familiar to readers, as will be her uncompromising insights and the beauty of her verse. The poems of Part I address the poet's childhood and her uneasy relationship with her parents, subjects about which she continues to display the bittersweet lyricism at which she excels: "...sometimes I thought she could/ sense bits of herself in my body/ like dots of undissolved sugar/ in a recipe that did not quite work out." Part II, concerned primarily with adolescence and awakening sexuality, offers perhaps the strongest grouping as Olds explores sexuality in an "endless... apprenticeship to the mortal." Least effective are the poems that follow, mainly about her children and her motherhood, where even Olds's powers of microscopic observation-of both self and other-do not always lift this material out of the mundane. The last poems celebrate love in marriage, portraying the maturing of erotic and emotional bonds over time ("love is simply our element,/ it is the summer night, we are in it.") While one might wish to see Olds taking more chances and expanding her subject matter, she does not fail to awaken us to the depth and beauty of familiar concerns.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The poems themselves are wonderfully well-written (it is Sharon Olds, after all). Many of them I love, maybe 75%. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Beanu
I rarely post book reviews, but am so unhappy to see a narrow-minded group of (apparently) personal acquaintances of one puritanical reviewer dragging the book's rating down that I... Read morePublished on October 10, 2013 by Janet Hardy
Sharon Olds is a good poet and these are some of her best poems. Fans of poetry should have this one in their collections.Published on February 11, 2013 by Harry Calhoun
I will give the other reviews slight credence to the nasty words. some words could be considered 'nasty' words if you are a prude. but that's life. Read morePublished on April 10, 2007 by S. G. Steele
The only thing I can think to say about this book of poems is that they are TERRIBLE. I've never heard so may nasty words -
I mean really nasty, sex words, that do not... Read more
As I was reading this book, I came across many poems that were far too sexually explicit for my taste, to name a few: "The First," "Early Images of Heaven" and "Full Summer. Read morePublished on April 15, 2006 by Joanna Sanford
I am an art lover in all its forms. I especially appreciaate poetry, and am sorely disappointed with the poor work that Sharon Olds has produced in THE WELLSPRING. Read morePublished on April 13, 2006 by Lee Magill