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Sharon Olds


  Female      American      Poet

  Born : Nov 19, 1942  


About Author

Sharon Olds (born November 19, 1942) is an American poet. Olds has been the recipient of many awards including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the first San Francisco Poetry Center Award in 1980 She currently teaches creative writing at New York University.

Sharon Stuart Cobb was born on November 19, 1942 in San Francisco, California, but was brought up in Berkeley, California along with her siblings.. She was raised as a “hellfire Calvinist”, as she describes it. Her father, like his before him, was an alcoholic who was often abusive to his children. In Olds’ writing she often refers to the time(or possibly even times) when her father tied her to a chair. Olds’ mother was often either unable or too afraid to come to the aid of her children. The strict religious environment Olds was raised in had certain rules of censorship and restriction. Olds was not permitted to go to the movies and the family did not own a television. As for the literature granted in the household Olds once said she won a singing contest in church choir. “[The prize] was a book of child martyrs who had been killed for their belief and died very politely.” She liked fairy tales, and also read Nancy Drew and Life Magazine. As for her own religious views and her exposure to religious literary art she says she was by nature "a pagan and a pantheist" and notes "I was in a church where there was both great literary art and bad literary art, the great art being psalms and the bad art being hymns. The four-beat was something that was just part of my consciousness from before I was born." She adds "I think I was about 15 when I conceived of myself as an atheist, but I think it was only very recently that I can really tell that there's nobody there with a copybook making marks against your name."..


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