Poetry Heralding Simple Objects: Sharon Olds
In celebration of National Poetry Month, I wanted to share Sharon Olds Ode to the Tampon as read by the poet in 2008 at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Ode to the Tampon speaks for all of the everyday objects that inhabit our lives as women. Those items in our purse and in the drawers of our bathroom that we need, put up with, use, are grateful for and then try not to think about again during the day. i.e. the Tampon!
I was not at the Dodge Poetry festival and really can’t remember how I first came upon Sharon Olds’ work. What I do remember is feeling as if my understanding of the written word, especially through poetry, had been blown wide open! For me, it was the use of accessible language that spoke to the ordinariness of my everyday life and showed me how extraordinary it truly was to be a daughter, a wife, a mother, a woman. Sharon Olds spoke at my daughter’s high school during their poetry celebrations. At the lecture, and I hope I do justice to my memory of the story, she told of sending out one of her early poems for publication. The poem was returned with a note suggesting she try women’s magazines because the stuff of motherhood was not truly material for poetry. In other words, women’s issue were not seemingly poet. I think time and the power of women writers have proved the literary world otherwise!
A young woman, a senior readying herself to go off to college, stood up to thank Sharon Olds for being such an incredible inspiration to her. What more can we ask for from our work than to inspire?
For those of us still shopping the feminine hygiene aisles at the grocery store and for those of us that use of such things are a distant or far away memory, I hope this poem gives you a moment of reflection and laughter! It starts at 3:18 in the youtube video embedded below. The first ode is to the Composting Toilet. Enjoy!
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