Sharon Olds's dazzling new collection is a sequence of poems that reaches into the very wellspring of life. The poems take us back to the womb, and from there on to childhood, to a searing sexual awakening, to the shock of childbirth, to the wonder and humor of parenthood--and, finally, to the depths of adult love.
Always bold, musical, honest, these poems plunge us into the essence of experience. This is a highly charged, beautifully organized collection from one of the finest poets writing today.
The theme of Sharon Olds' fifth volume of poetry, The Wellspring is family and the sexual and sensual nature of the creation and sustenance of life--most often her own. From a time in her mother's life that preceded her own birth ("half of me/was deep in her body, dyed egg") to her father's testicles ("my brothers/and sisters are there, swimming by the cinerous/millions") to her son (who "waited inside me so many years/egg in my side before I was born"), her place in the reproductive life of her family is paramount. Even when the ostensible subject of a poem is as public as a campus antiwar demonstration, as in "May 1968," the real topic is creation and procreation: "The mounted police moved, near us/while we sang ... /if my period did not come tonight/I was pregnant."