Baker, David. Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000. In a brief section on Olds, Baker explains why, though he admires dozens of her poems, he does not admire her books. The Wellspring in particular suffers from its structure and presents a whole that is less than the sum of its parts. He faults Olds, as well, for “sentimentality and exaggeration, even falsification.”
Matson, Susan. “Talking to Our Father: The Political and Mythical Appropriations of Adrienne Rich and Sharon Olds.” American Poetry Review 18 (November/December, 1989): 35-41. Matson examines the rhetorical strategies Rich and Olds use in poems addressed to their fathers and argues that, in different ways, both poets triumph over the limitations women face in male-dominated families and cultures. The section on Olds focuses on several poems in The Gold Cell.
Olds, Sharon. “Sharon Olds.” Interview by Laurel Blossom. Poets and Writers Magazine, September/October, 1993, 30-32. In this wide-ranging and lively interview, Olds discusses such issues as influences, her relationship to confessional poetry, and the spectrum of loyalty and betrayal. Comments on Robert Lowell, Muriel Rukeyser, and others.
Ostriker, Alicia. “American Poetry, Now Shaped by Women.” The New York Times Book Review, March 9, 1986, 1. Placing Olds at the vanguard of contemporary poetry, Ostriker suggests that a younger generation of women poets is following in the pioneering tradition of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Adrienne Rich.
Scheponik, Peter C. “Olds’s ‘My Father Speaks to Me from the Dead.’” The Explicator 57, no. 1 (Fall, 1998): 59-62. Examines the way in which the speaker in this poem strives “to extract the emotional validation” from her father that he never offered during his life. The poem’s power resides in the conflict between her father’s philosophy and the speaker’s emotional needs.
Sutton, Brian. “Olds’s ‘Sex Without Love.’” The Explicator 55, no. 3 (Spring, 1997): 177-180. A close reading of Olds’s frequently anthologized poem “Sex Without Love.”