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Mother Knows Best: "Wonder as Wander"

Written by

Sharon Olds

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May 10, 2012


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For a long time I believed that no one in my family would know I was a poet if I didn't tell them. After maybe my second book, my mother saw a poem of mine in a magazine. She called me about it, and I said something like what would really work for me would be to keep family and poetry separate, if I could, and I asked her to not read my poems.

I don't know if she did or not, but I was hugely grateful that she didn't talk about them with me. I don't think I ever sent out a poem which I wouldn't be willing for her—on some other planet, in some other life, in some dialogue about the truth—to read. And in some way—pretty self-serving but I hope not merely so—I felt that my poems were for her, too, as her own mother's daughter.

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The poets in this collection present poems about their mothers and dis...