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Baker's Dozen

A Life Turning Pages: Robert Forster's Favourite Books
Aug Stone , April 8th, 2020 09:22

The Go-Betweens founder takes Aug Stone through his 'eclectic even to himself' reading tastes


Sharon Olds - Stag's Leap
I came to her only about five years ago. She won the Pulitzer Prize. At that time she would have been in her late 60s and I'd never heard of her. I bought the book and it was the best thing in poetry that I'd read since when I was reading Sexton, Plath, and Adrienne Rich. Olds is in that niche. You can tell that she's younger than them but she's got that power and cut-through, and economy of language. Strong image, strong voice. Stag's Leap was a break-through for her. What she's known for is poetry about sex and the body, in a beautiful way. And her husband left her after about thirty years, and a lot of the poems in Stag's Leap are about this. It has a very strong theme, and maybe this tipped her poetry up to another level. She's now written two other books, both of which I've got. Odes and a new one called Arias that I bought in Powell's bookshop in Portland, Oregon. I'm reading it as I'm traveling now. Her work is with a social conscience, it's quite conversational, which I like, and down to earth. I love down to earth, conversational, real life stuff, but done artfully, with great meaning and great economies of language. She's a very good poet.