by Sharon Olds

Page 5

I'm very honored to be reading with Denise Levertov. When I realized that I would be able to do that, I thought of another woman poet who I wished could be here today, and I wanted to read a few of her poems so that she will be here today. And in fact--I thought of this while I was sitting where you're sitting. I thought of flowers for Emily, and I was wearing something that was given me right around the time that Muriel Rukeyser was bringing out her last book, so I thought I'd put this out for them. This is a theatre, right? A theatre. This is a very interesting space too--zero at the bone, indeed. And then the knockings on the wall--I haven't had one yet. Emily, Emily! And when the mike suddenlyl goes mreeeer! But there's a lot of energy, a lot of energy moving around. Muriel Rukeyser's prose poem "Myth":

Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the roads.    He smelled a familiar smell.    It was the Sphinx.    Oedipus said, "I want to ask one question. Why didn't I recognize my mother?"    "You gave the wrong answer," said the Sphinx.    "But that was what made everything possible," said Oedipus.    "No," she said. "When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered, Man.    You didn't say anything about woman."    "When you say Man," said Oedipus, "you include women too. Everyone knows that."    She said, "That's what you think."

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