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‘Stag’s Leap’ by Sharon Olds

“Stag’s Leap” is no exception to poet Sharon Olds’s unswerving devotion to total recall, recounting in often discomfiting detail the months and years following her divorce in 1997 after more than 30 years with her husband. You can learn a lot about Olds by reading Olds; and to some readers, that’s the problem.

For her critics, myself often among them, the self-awareness that has saturated Olds’s poetry for 30 years — a hardcore candor that hunts down details and does not spare them — amounts to a generosity that can often tip into something more like exhibitionism. Elegant oversharing: It’s her thing, and it neatly splits the love-hers from the hate-hers.

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