Sharon Olds has been awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her twelfth collection of poems, Stag's Leap. The collection had previously won the Eliot Prize in England.
In a recent interview, Olds spoke about writing the poems in the book which came out of a difficult time in her life as her marriage of 32 years was ending.
"I wrote these poems the way I always write, which is immediately. I have to write a poem the moment it comes to me, or sometimes half an hour later, or the next day if I’m in the middle of something. Only then do I have the feeling that is so full in me that it feels the need to spill over into an expression of itself. The poems were written in 1997, 1998 and 1999, and then maybe one in 2000 and one in 2002 and one poem may be written in 2006. But 90 percent of them were written right at the time.
In terms of this book being difficult, I really enjoy writing. I can’t sit down and just write a poem. I have to wait for it to come to me, and I’m grateful when it does, and I do the best I can with it. But it’s a pleasure – particularly the poems in this book – to take something painful and real and educational and try to make some kind of pleasure out of it – musical pleasure, or imagery pleasure, for myself, for the reader. That is fun."