I Go Back to May 1937 by Sharon Olds : The Poetry Foundation

Sharon Olds: I Go Back to May 1937

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips black in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don’t do it, she’s the wrong woman,
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips like chips of flint as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

I Go Back To May 1937 Poem by Sharon Olds - Poem Hunter

Actor John Lithgow reads the poem

I Go Back To May 1937 by Sharon Olds

Poem: "I Go Back to May 1937," by Sharon Olds, fromTheGoldCell (Alfred A. Knopf).It's the birthday in , 1952 of playwright BETHHENLEY, winnerof the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for the comedy Crimes of theHeart.It's the anniversary of V-E DAY, 1945, "Victory in EuropeDay."It's the birthday in Glen Cove, Long Island, 1937, of novelist andshort-story writerTHOMAS PYNCHON, author of the 1973 novel , whichwon the National Book Award.It was on this day in 1541 that the Spaniard sightedtheMississippi River, the first European explorer of the New World to doso.

Analysis of Sharon Olds' "I Go Back To May 1937" - The Rebel

I go back to May 1937 is a poem published in the year 1987 and written by Sharon. The poem explores the relationship between husband and a wife and later reflects on parents and children. The poem indicates the flashback of the marriage between the parents and the expected challenges along the way. The poem has a distinctive attention to the reader stating that the parents could not have allowed to marry and at the same time that if that could have happened, then the author could not have been existed (Olds, 2011).

Actor John Lithgow reads the poem "I Go Back to May 1937," by Pulitzer Prize winner Sharon Olds.
Other reading: The story works well with Sharon Olds's

Weekly Poem: 'I Go Back to May 1937' | PBS NewsHour

Sharon Olds's poem "I Go Back to May 1937" is included in her collection The Gold Cell, published in 1987. Like much of Olds's poetry, "I Go Back to May 1937" is concerned with exploring the relationship between wife and husband, parents and children. In this poem the speaker travels back to a time just before her parents' marriage so that she might warn them of the mistake they are about to make. Although the speaker knows her parents will face pain, she cannot stop their union, since to do so would deny her own existence. She wants to live and so these people must be permitted to marry.

I Go Back to May 1937

Analysis of "I Go Back to May 1937" - YouTube

For her readers, Olds's poems seem very personal, including "I Go Back to May 1937." Many of her poems are concerned with the speaker's relationship with her father, as she seeks to understand his alcoholism, his abandonment of his family through divorce, and his painful death. The exploration of her parents' marriage—beginning as this poem does, just prior to their wedding—presents the essential paradox. The speaker wishes her parents had never married, had never made one another's lives so miserable. She wishes her own childhood had been spared the torment of her parents' unhappiness, and yet to eliminate their marriage would be to eliminate the speaker. This paradox gives the poem a unique tension.

FreeBookNotes found 1 site with book summaries or analysis of I Go Back to May 1937

I Go Back to May 1937 by Julia Burton on Prezi

Olds's poem "I Go Back to May 1937" explores the meeting of two people, whom the speaker would rather stay apart. Readers may assume the poem is about Olds's parents, though Olds has eliminated such easy analysis of her work by limiting public knowledge of her family life. What is known is that Olds married and that her two children were born while she was still a student at Columbia. Olds has also spoken frankly about the influence of religion on her life, noting that she was brought up to be a Calvinist Christian, with strong beliefs in punishment and hell.