MS. OLDS REGRETS
We were highly gratified, but not surprised, by the massive outpouring of near-unanimous support for poet Sharon Olds’s decision not to attend the National Book Festival or the dinner and breakfast hosted by the First Lady [“No Thanks, Mrs. Bush,” Oct. 10]. A sample of the mail follows. –The Editors
New York City
Three rousing cheers for Sharon Olds, who showed courage and wisdom in turning down Laura Bush’s invitation. Every person who breaks bread at the White House tacitly condones the slaughter in Iraq, which her husband initiated when he arrogantly and unilaterally declared this horrific war.
Sharon Olds, your ability to articulate is exceeded only by your courage. I stand in awe. Thank you.
What gives me hope in these bleak days is the resonance of such powerful voices as that of Sharon Olds. I would despair, were it not for poets like her.
MARTHA GALLION GEHRINGER
Bravo! Three Cheers! Good Show!–for not accepting Mrs. W.’s invitation. We need more like Sharon Olds!
H. MILTON PEEK
For me, this is what family values means.
It is difficult to type while standing and wildly applauding poet Sharon Olds’s breathtaking decline of Laura Bush’s dinner invitation. Perhaps Ms. Bush will see in the letter the difference between politics and poetry. The former requires pretense, artifice and the ability to hide one’s genuine face. The latter (to be done well) requires candor, authenticity and the ability to speak the truth without flinching. For these reasons Ms. Olds is a brilliant poet and Ms. Bush is, well… married to the President.
Sharon Olds’s letter to Laura Bush has circulated all across the country to this far-most corner. If everyone would “walk the talk” of their beliefs, we would recover. Sharon, you have contributed to strengthening and healing in so many ways.
The idea that a single person can project her moral outrage by refusing to dine with the First Lady appeals to my holistic sense of what we should all be doing. Sharon Olds and Cindy Sheehan have the courage to say, “This is not right–this is immoral.” I am wondering where the “men” are who fight so hard to be elected as our representatives.