A profile on the face of quirkily hyper-sexualized, unconnectedly earlobed (and, of course, Catholicish) American poetry, or How I learned to stop projecting and love Sharon Olds


Lockwood was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., and was raised, as her author blurb states, in “all the worst cities of the Midwest.” What it does not say is that her father is a married Catholic priest, currently in a diocese of Kansas City, Mo. This requires a bit of explanation….

As a child Lockwood was intensely pious. “Catholicism is very beautiful,” she told me. “When your father is a priest, it’s invested with extra authority, and your father is invested with extra authority.” As a teenager, she had a strict dress code and a very limited range of after-school activities, which included a youth group called God’s Gang. “There was a lot of talk about gangs at the time,” she recalled, “and the idea was, what if there was a gang but it was a cool gang — for the Lord?” In God’s Gang they spoke in tongues, and the leaders would outline “all the sex you can’t do.”


  1. Oh my goodness. Thank you.

    • “I could tell you some stories -”

      “Sure you could and yet many writers do everything in their power to insulate themselves from the common man, from where they live, from where they trade, from where they fight and love and converse and…”


  2. Matthew Lickona says

    The outline of all the sex you can’t do
    Outlines a shape
    That is exactly the shape
    In negative space
    Of all the sex you can do

  3. And that sternocleidomastoid she’s sporting is itself a poem – a long, easy-running, perfectly wrought, internally rhyming, eternally meaning poem….


  4. Matthew Lickona says

    God’s Gang ain’t got nothin’ on the Heartland Youth for Decency.

  5. I’ve had a change…of heart.


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