First published in 1980, the classic poetry of Sharon Olds’ Satan Says was introduced into college courses twenty years ago, and still maintains a wide usage today. Few first books have the power or vigor of design of Satan Says. Marilyn Hacker described it as “a daring and elegant first book. This is a poetry which affirms and redeems the art.”
The poems are constructed with craft and care; the volatility of childhood seemingly is tempered with controlled retrospection and craft. . . . Olds's voice is original. It is even savage at times, but always controlled. Recommended for all colleges and libraries.
Sharon Olds's poetry has the intensity and power to move the reader, whether her subject be personal family life or political events.
This is a powerful and impressive first book.
Olds' voice is consistently intense. In one poem after another, the spareness and bluntness of the language emphasize the violent sensuality of the images.
Sharon Olds’s books include Strike Sparks; Selected Poems 1980-2002; The Unswept Room, and The Dead and the Living, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Olds teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.