Literature Annotations


Olds, Sharon
Waste Sonata


Genre Poem
KeywordsAlcoholism, Children, Empathy, Family Relationships, Father-Daughter Relationship, Human Worth, Illness and the Family, Love, Marital Discord, Ordinary Life, Suffering, Time, Trauma
Summary

A powerful lament over a father’s wasted life, and the "purgatory" of living in a household dominated by alcoholism and marital discord. Strong and graphic language weaves a complex web of conflicting emotions: hatred and self-hatred, scorn and pity, condemnation and forgiveness.

CommentaryThis is from the collection of poems written by Olds about a father’s terminal illness and death, and retrospectively, about a life together (see also in this database The Waiting, The Pulling, The Dead Body, Beyond Harm).
SourceThe Father
PublisherKnopf
Edition1992
Place PublishedNew York
Annotated by Aull, Felice
Date of Entry 02/09/94