ODE TO WATTLES
I want to write about my wattles–oooo, I
lust after it,
I want to hold a mirror under my
chin so I can see the new
events in solid geometry
occuring below my jaw, which was
all bone till now, and now is jam-packed
reticule. I love to be a little
disgusting, to go as far as I can
into the thrilling unloveliness
of an elderwoman’s aging.
Ms. Olds has sometimes being criticized for being self-involved, for narcissism run amok. I see no logic to this sort of censure, agreeing with Philip Larkin, who said in an interview, “A very crude difference between novels and poetry is that novels are about other people and poetry is about yourself.” Ms. Olds renders the personal universal.
-Dwight Garner, New York Times, September 26, 2016