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Analysis and comments on Sex Without Love by Sharon Olds

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Comment 2 of 462, 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 462, 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

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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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: 1302 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 18 2008

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