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The Folger Spotlight

ENCORES: Selections from Sharon Olds (2016)

Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness
Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. As many arts and cultural institutions remain closed during this time, these ENCORES provide a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience.

ENCORES presents

O.B. Hardison Poetry Series
Begin Again: Sharon Olds
October 2016
Learn more about this reading on Folgerpedia

Sharon Olds read her poems

  • Diagnosis
    • One Secret Thing, 2008
  • Her Birthday as Ashes in Seawater
    • Arias, 2019
  • Ode to My Living Friends
    • Odes, 2016

All published by Knopf,

Read the introduction by poet Sarah Browning:

Hello and welcome to Folger ENCORES. I’m Sarah Browning and I’m happy to be able to speak with you today.

The Folger has been sharing selections from their plays, music, talks, and readings with you in this ENCORES series. This week, we’re excited to bring you a selection from Begin Again, a reading in the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series, with the celebrated poet Sharon Olds.

I was fortunate to introduce Sharon, and moderate the conversation after her reading. We had the opportunity to speak with her in detail about her poetry and her creative process. In describing herself, Sharon has said: “I’m interested in ordinary life, just being an ordinary observer and liver and feeler and letting the experience get through you onto the notebook with the pen through the arm out of the body onto the page without distortion.”

In my introduction to the 2016 reading, I said of my initial discovery of Sharon’s work 20 years earlier, “I found within these finely crafted poems, a wild freedom, a female speaker who owned her own body, who spoke frankly of its sexual desire, who told the sorry tales of its violation. This courage struck me then as a radical political act.” Today, nearly five years later, as thousands of women and men and nonbinary folk, too, have publicly borne witness through the Me Too movement to the body’s violations. Sharon’s creative act, her exquisite poems that let the experience get out of the body, onto the page, without distortion is more critical than ever. I hope you’ll read Sharon Olds’ poems, buy her books and share them with everyone you love.

Please be sure to join us again for these weekly episodes of ENCORES, highlighting all that the Folger has to offer. Thank you.

Encores LogoCheck back each Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger TheatreFolger ConsortO.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.