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Analysis and comments on Sex Without Love by Sharon Olds

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Comment 4 of 464, added on March 22nd, 2006 at 9:41 AM.

i really enjoyed this poem because i can relate to it completely. I think
we all can at some point in our lives. i had to do an english assignment on
sharon olds and wrote a poetic response to this poem, which could just have
the same topic. Just wanted to let everyone out there know that i may be
coming out with a book soon. It is called "Simple Crazy Misc." It will
probably have my poetic response in it.

jessica mayabb from United States
Comment 3 of 464, added on November 7th, 2005 at 11:58 PM.

Seattle.Monday.7November.2005 11pm or so, P.S.T.,


If you read the poem as I did, as having the title: "Love Without Sex",
instead of how it should be, which is: "Sex Without Love", then you misread
the entire meaning of the poem, and the consequence is that your
commentary, that is, MY commentary, is totally wrong... and mine certainly
is, in the Commentary #2, dated 11.07.2005, at about 9:55pm.

Due to my accidental reversal, I assumed the poet's voice, Ms. Olds, to be
an advocate of the words, rather than it's opposite-- the ironic voice
showing how absurd and gross those persons are, who indulge in sex, with
love, without caring about anyone except themselves, and who are, "like
runners"...

So this commentary, #3, also dated 11.07.2005, is not directed toward the
poem--I shall need to do that soon, in order to correct my mistake-- but
rather is written in apology to Ms. Olds, for my having jumped to a
conclusion, based upon my careless reversal of the title of the poem. So
apologies all around... I must needs make amends... and consider this a
start on that duty and obligation.

The poem, Sex Without Love, IS indeed a poem, and even though it is not my
emotional favorite, as I am fond of saying.... it still does not deserve my
diatribe, as presented in Commentary # 2. So I rescind my remarks from
Commentary #2, having "slapped myself up- side the head" and, with
embarrassment, I say, as Admiral Haig once did: Everything's fine here... I
am in control"... It's too bad too, 'cuz I was really on a roll, there.
Alas. Say "Goodnight", Gracie. Hmmm, ok, George. "Goodnight, Gracie"...

yours truly,
Richard Battersea, artist

Richard Battersea from United States
Comment 2 of 464, added on November 7th, 2005 at 9:55 PM.

Seattle.Monday.7November.2005 10pm or so, P.S.T.,

Addressed to Sharon Olds, who would have us believe that "Love Without Sex"
is a real poem.

Granted, it is a valid point of view to present in literature, including
poetry, but the basic message, the content, is the usual cliche: life is
bleak, we are all alone, if you think otherwise you are an ignoramus... It
is pessimistic, self-indulgent, selfish and egocentric, pointless, lost in
boring self-pity by the persona of the poet, who pleads the false claim of
being more insightful, and wiser than the reader or anyone else, when in
fact she is actually more interested simply, in "being seen"-- like a
prideful middle-aged woman in an ugly new hat and outfit, at church-- than
with creating a genuine work of poetry, and confronting the remarkable
variety and full possibilities of life, both sad and tragic, ironic,
humorous, funny, absurd, heroic, generous, kind, and an endlessly varied
parade of connections between two or more people. I say "Fie" on this kind
of empty poetic posing....
"Fie" on your sorrowful incompetent cliched wailing. It is largely
pretense, and self congratulation.. not really a poem at all.
Poems are not created through the clever and/or talented manipulation of
words and phrases--a real poem is a written form of expression, in
language, concerning the complexity of life experience.
Doesn't the poet have a grandmother, or a pet cat or a neighbor nearby who
is suffering some genuine injustice, or a city set on fire by people so
poverty stricken that they can not feed and clothe their children?

Ms. Olds is somewhat talented, but she is not honest in a fundamental
sense.... poems do not consist simply in such arrangements of words, but
MUST, regardless of style, emanate from the mind, heart and soul of the
poet, with clarity and scrupulous truthfulness-- regardless of the selected
point of view. This poet, at least here, is guilty of egregious falsehood,
reeking of the posturing Poseur.

It is a misrepresentation of the very essence and purpose of poetry, and is
instead, a paean to herself, and a pastiche of verbal turpitude.

Get right with your own soul and mind, Ms. Olds ,
....listen to your heart and inner voices, and feel the Infinite, as well
as the finite world-- the 10,000 things-- and join the human race....

Otherwise try something else, like advertising.

Yours truly,
Richard Battersea, artist

Richard Battersea from United States
Comment 1 of 464, added on October 29th, 2005 at 1:40 PM.

I am in an English course at college, and I just recently found this poem
in the book we are using. We are using the book, "Thinking And Writing
About Literature" by Michael Meyer, and it is the second edition. The
reason for my comment is this says it was written in 1985, in the book I
have, it says 1984. Just thought I'd share.

Joe from United States

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Information about Sex Without Love

Poet: Sharon Olds
Poem: Sex Without Love
Volume: The Riverside Anthology of Literature
Year: 1985
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 1543 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 18 2008


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