The Poetry Society of America is pleased to announce that Sharon Olds is the 2022 recipient of the Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. Named for Robert Frost, and first given in 1930, the Frost Medal is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in American poetry and is awarded annually at the discretion of the PSA's Board of Governors. Previous winners of the award include Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, Lucille Clifton, and most recently, N. Scott Momaday.
The Frost Medal citation from the Poetry Society of America’s Board of Governors reads:
While achieving the highest literary honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Sharon Olds has also earned an enormous following as one of the most beloved poets of her generation. She writes about everyday things with an extraordinary bravery. "I'm interested in ordinary life,” Olds says, “and letting the experience get through you onto the notebook with pen, through the arm, out of the body, onto the page, without distortion." What Olds uncovers can be unsettling—the aftermath of divorce, a father’s slow decline and death—but her poems embolden us to experience the fullness of our own lives with an unflinching intimacy, “without distortion.” Olds has had an extraordinary influence on younger poets, as her candor about sex, motherhood, and family trauma, the pleasures and failings of the body, has demolished taboos and opened up new fields of poetic discovery. A poet of constant linguistic surprise, Sharon Olds is a master of the American vernacular. The Poetry Society of America takes enormous pride in awarding the Frost Medal, our highest award, to a poet of such courage and brilliance, who has impacted this generation and future generations of poets in so many diverse and as yet to be discovered ways.