Sharon Olds Poems

Sharon Olds is a contemporary American poet born in 1942. She has won numerous literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. Her poetry has been praised for its clarity and depiction of complex emotional states.

Summer Solstice, New York City

by Sharon Olds

‘Summer Solstice, New York City’ by Sharon Olds is a deeply moving poem that conveys the tender importance of remembering our capacity for human compassion.

This poem by Sharon Olds illustrates an emotionally jarring scene that is made all the more moving by the poet's use of imagery and figurative language. It is an incredibly impactful poem that conveys the importance of human connection, while also attempting to show that such communal compassion still exists beneath the bustle of urbanity.

By the end of the longest day of the year he could not stand it,

he went up the iron stairs through the roof of the building

Ode to Dirt

by Sharon Olds

‘Ode to Dirt’ is an impassioned all for everyone to reevaluate their perception of dirt and learn to appreciate it for its many qualities.

While the poem is not as deeply personal as much of Olds' work, it is certainly in keeping with her preference for the ode form. Similarly, it demonstrates her sensitivity to small details even as it lacks her more common thematic concerns.

Dear dirt, I am sorry I slighted you,

I thought that you were only the background

for the leading characters—the plants

and animals and human animals.

Rite of Passage

by Sharon Olds

‘Rite of Passage’ by Sharon Olds is a disturbing poem that describes how a group of six and seven year olds acted at a birthday party. They immediately compare their strengths and ages, and even suggest they could kill a young child. 

As the guests arrive at our son’s party   

they gather in the living room—

short men, men in first grade

with smooth jaws and chins.

Sex Without Love

by Sharon Olds

In ‘Sex Without Love’ Olds asks the reader to consider the implications of relationships based on sex rather than emotional love.

We're glad you like visiting Poem Analysis...

We've got everything you need to master poetry

But, are you ready to take your learning

to the next level?