This new collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds includes new poems of intimate life and political conscience, of race and class, and a mother’s violence.
The atom bomb, Breaking Bad, Rasputin, the cervix, her mother’s return from the dead: the peerless Sharon Olds once again takes up subject matter that is both difficult and ordinary, elusive and everywhere. Each aria is shaped by its unique harmonics and moral logic, as Olds stands center stage to sing of sexual pleasure and chance wisdom, and faces the tragic life of our nation and our planet. “I cannot say I did not ask / to be born,” begins one aria, which considers how, with what actions, with what thirst, we each ask for a turn, and receive our portion on earth. Olds delivers these pieces with all the passion, anguish, and solo force that make a great performance, in the process enlarging the soul of her reader.
“In Arias, Olds puts her honest, clear verse to work mostly outside of the body, and looks instead at the body politic, at the social body we have created or destroyed together.” —Anjanette Delgaro, New York Journal of Books
“Arias is rich with its own music. . . . Olds offers gripping, vivid songs that urgently capture the preciousness of what there remains on Earth to defend, and all that has been lost. . . . In [these] complex, nourishing poems, the stakes are clear: if we are on Earth, we ought to be singing.”
—Maya Popa, Publishers Weekly
“Olds has the goods in this eclectic collection of new verse. . . . With its expansive range and warm honesty, this book shows us why the Pulitzer Prize winner is still among the most beloved poets alive.” —Tomi Obaro, BuzzFeed