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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

I found out about Sharon Olds from the poem montage that was included in the movie Into the Wild. It's exciting to know that such a thing was placed in a movie in such a way you only assume that it is something that Chris McCandless wrote in his journal. Perhaps this poem was in his journal. Why can't more poetry be included in movies like this? Hopefully there will be. A movie like Into the Wild only gives us an avenue to well-placed literary references that may help our generation, which is very movie literate. Where else can you quote Byron like that? And even more, promote Sharon Olds's poetry, which is good stuff, but sadly only gets noticed by the mainstream if it is put in a movie?

Sharon Olds probably felt like she had to take a stand against something she didn't believe in. She felt like she had to say something, and make a statement. But didn't she consider the event she was standing up? Unless Laura Bush had some secret agenda of trying to promote the Republican party or cause, what Laura Bush said sounded like something Sharon Olds could agree with her about. She had to have been able to agree on at least promoting education. If all of us conservatives and liberals can't at least agree that it is essential to be a habitual reader, then what can we agree on?

I respect Sharon Olds choice to take a stand. But it does seem juveinlle of both The Nation magazine and Sharon Olds to only put a letter in the magazine. Why didn't Olds go to the event and discuss the problem with Laura Bush there? Wouldn't that be a little more courageous and memorable, at least in Laura Bush's mind. Wouldn't it be better to go to Bush face to face and talk to her about it, although these sort of confrontations probably aren't welcome at these events?

Perhaps Sharon Olds is comfortable with her choice. But I often find that because of staunch non-compromising actions like this one carried out by The Nation only lets the gap between the two parties in our nation grow wider and wider. This letter perhaps was a win for the antiwar movement. But I think a conversation by Old with Bush might have been a more human action. And it seems since Olds is a poet, she would do more humane and personal things.

Nathan Branson

Thomasville, NC

Nov 20 2009 - 1:02pm

Web Letter

I can't understand why Sharon Olds would write something such as this and have it published as opposed to submitting it privately with some dignity.

Instead, she submits it to The Nation for everyone to see, as if she's a high school sophomore seeking the approval of the popular kids (in this case the limousine liberals she calls friends).

"See, see what I did?!" I can almost hear her gleefully exclaiming. "Now they'll take me seriously..."

It is both sickening and embarrassing.

Ken Flott

Revere, MA

Dec 27 2008 - 3:22pm

Web Letter

Sharon Olds has clearly done much admirable work in her life. Her compassion and empathy are demonstrated by actions that help improve peoples' lives every day.

That being said, her understanding and awareness of the implications and effects of US foreign policy fall straight into the whiny and wanna feel good "war-is-bad", "I don't want my country to do anything that makes me uncomfortable", trash bin under the desk of responsible foreign policy analysts.

To quote Michael Moore, no friend of the administration or the war, but plainly a person with occasional insight, "Americans are possibly the dumbest people on the planet. ...We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don't know about anything that's happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing."

The arrogant ignorance of Sharon Olds is embarrassing.

Lily Downing

Forest Hills, NY

Apr 20 2007 - 9:41am

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