Sharon Olds Reads Rodney Jones on the Newest Installment of The New Yorker's Poetry Podcast
Give a listen to the newest New Yorker poetry podcast to hear Sharon Olds read poems by Rodney Jones (as well as a few poems of her own) and join the magazine's poetry editor, Paul Muldoon, in conversation.
On this month’s Poetry Podcast, Sharon Olds reads “Hubris at Zunzal,” by Rodney Jones. The poem explores the correlation between an experience of loss—the “impossibility of return,” as it’s described on the podcast—and a subsequent interlude of believing that what has been lost is recoverable. Jones describes a moment of rashness:
then the idea I was not finished,
then the act of reaching down
with the idea I would get it back.
Olds also reads her own poem “Still Falling For Her,” in which the speaker imagines her long-dead mother vividly alive again:
… I am falling,
and I do not feel that there are rocks, below,
I think I may go on falling, like my own
flesh, for the rest of my life, and maybe I’ll
still be falling for my mother after
my death—or not falling but orbiting,
with her, and maybe we’ll take turns
who is the moon, and who is the earth.
The two poems are united by this image of falling, the act or experience of which is presented as both unstoppable and as a moment out of time, in which the outcome is still alterable, if not entirely avoidable.
Rodney Jones was awarded the National Book Critics Circle award in 1989 for his collection “Transparent Gestures,” which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. You can hear Sharon Olds’s reading and conversation with the magazine’s poetry editor, Paul Muldoon, by listening above or by downloading the podcast for free from iTunes.