Born: November 19, 1942
Birthplace: San Francisco
Sharon Olds has published seven volumes of poetry, including The Dead and the Living, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984, and was the New York State Poet Laureate from 1998 to 2000. She is often described as “raw” for her use of direct language and her honest approach to topics such as sexuality, relationships, and violence, both political and personal.
Olds made the news in September 2005, when she declined an invitation from First Lady Laura Bush to read from her works at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., and to dine at the White House. Said Olds: "I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it."