Sharon Olds completes her cycle of family poems in a book at once intense and harmonic, playful with language, and rich with a new self-awareness and sense of irony.
The opening poem, with its sequence of fearsome images of war, serves as a prelude to poems of home in which humour, anger, and compassion sing together with lyric energy - sometimes comic, sometimes filled with a kind of unblinking forgiveness. These songs of joy and danger - public and private - illuminate one another. As the book unfolds, the portrait of the mother goes through a moving revision, leading us to a final series of elegies of hard-won mourning. One Secret Thing is charged throughout with Sharon Olds's characteristic passion, imagination, and poetic power.
"A memorable collection"
"Sharon Olds's poems are pure fire in the hands - risky, on the verge of falling, and in the end leaping up. I love the roughness and humour and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss"
"As devastatingly accurate in its depiction of our deepest wishes and secret inner lives as we have come to expect from this brilliant and fearless poet"
"Her best work exhibits a lyrical acuity which is both purifying and redemptive. She sees description as a means to catharsis, and the result is impossible to forget... Sharon Olds is enormously self-aware; her poetry is remarkable for its candour, its eroticism, and its power to move"
"She has written without embarassment or apology, with remarkable passion and savagery and nerve, poems about family and family pathology, early erotic fascination and sexual life inside marriage"