Confusing Sexuality with Love in Sharon Olds’ “Sex Without Love” Essay

Confusing Sexuality with Love in Sharon Olds’ “Sex Without Love” Essay

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Sharon Olds’ “Sex Without Love” is one of her many published poems. “Sex Without
Love” was first published in 1984 through a collection of poems in her second book The Dead
and the Living. Since then, even educational textbooks, all across the nation have featured Olds’
poems for student analysis. Reported in an essay, Literary Critic Ann D. Garbett states, Olds was
born in San Francisco, California on November 19, 1942. Olds grew up in an unstable home,
with her alcoholic father, mother, abusive grandparents, and sister. Before long, Olds’ parents
finally divorced. At the age of fifteen, she went to a boarding school close to Boston. While at
boarding school, Olds drew closer to her surroundings of the Northeastern United States.
Actually, Garbett suggest, Olds’ poem “Infinite Bliss”, reflects “her desire never to live where it
does not snow” and “has spent [all] her adult life living in New York City” (Garbett, par. 3 & 7).
Garbett also verifies, “Family life forms a major theme in her writing” (Garbett, par. 7). In life,
Olds has accomplished many things including the ultimate goal of attending/completing college
and graduate school, which earned her a B.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from
Columbia University. Subsequently, she taught at different universities and in 1989, Olds
“became director of New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science creative
writing program” (Garbett, par. 7). Moreover, Olds has received many awards for her poems and
writing (Garbett, pars. 1, 3, 5, & 7).

During the early 1980s when Olds published The Dead and the Living, Western society
was rapidly shifting their way of life. As things became easier with technological advances,
curiosity and independence was ...


... middle of paper ...


...9 Dec. 1982. ProQuest Historical Newspapers the New York Times (1851 - 2006): SM89. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2009.
Garbett, Ann D. “Sharon Olds” Magill’s Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition. Salem Press, Inc., (2007): n. pag. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 09 Oct. 2009.
Olds, Sharon. “Sex Without Love” The Seagull Reader: Poems, 2nd edition, New York: W. W. Norton& Company, Inc., 2008. 231-32. Print.
Pareles, Jon. "Rock Video, All Day and All Night.” New York Times (1857-Current
file) 21 Aug. 1984. ProQuest Historical Newspapers the New York Times (1851 - 2006): n.pag. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2009.
Schwartz, Tony. "Cable TV Programmers Find Problems Amid Fast Growth: Cable Programmers Finding Problems.” New York Times (1857-Current file,) 28 Sep. 1982. ProQuest Historical
Newspapers the New York Times (1851 - 2006): A1. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2009.

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