A Memorial Tribute to Mary Oliver [1935-2019] was one of America's finest poet appreciators of nature's eco-systems. Her poems became widely read and appreciated, because they spoke to the soul of Mother Nature's beauty, bounty, amazing intricacy and spiritual healing. Unlike much of the abstract poetry written during her lifetime, Mary Oliver's poetry was and is accessible by any reader with a heart for what is spiritually and philosophically satisfying. Mary Oliver was an “indefatigable guide to the natural world,” wrote Maxine Kumin in the Women’s Review of Books, “particularly to its lesser-known aspects.”As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced b Edna St. Vincent Millay, She resided for a short time with Norma Millay, in Millay's home at Steepletop, MA. where The Millay Colony for the Arts exits today. Oliver helped Norma Millay, Edn's sister, catalog and organize Millay's large volume of papers. Like Oliver, Millay was enormously popular in her day, selling way more books than most poets ever have, and giving more live readings than many. The fine craft of these poets is a tribute to writing accessible and imaginative poetry, rather than solipsistic abstractions--much in vogue since the rise of poets like John Ashbery whose crafty art is often inaccessible to the average or educated reader. Alicia Ostriker, renowned NY State Poet 2019, wrote of Oliver, she is “among the few American poets who can describe and transmit ecstasy, while retaining a practical awareness of the world as one of predators and prey.” Ostriker finds, Dream Work to be a collection of poems in which Oliver moves “from the natural world and its desires, the ‘heaven of appetite’ ... into the world of historical and personal suffering. ... She confronts ....what she cannot change.” Oliver's New and Selected Poems (1992), won the National Book Award. Oliver, was a prolific poet who published a volume almost every year. She also won a Pulitzer Prize and many other honors. New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 (2004), and Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (2010) carried on her love of the natural world and its spiritual dimensions. Her last books include: A Thousand Mornings (2012), Dog Songs (2013), Blue Horses (2014), Felicity (2015), Upstream: Selected Essays (2016), and Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (2017). She continued to explore in an unsentimental way the interaction of the human animal with the natural world. Her kinship with nature is profoundly philosophical and satisfying to her readers--especially now, in what this editor calls, the Age of Climate Crisis Emergency.
Copyright (C) 2019 by the Estate of Mary Oliver. All rights reserved. See books by Mary Oliver at Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Mary-Oliver/e/B000APELGO and many online bookstores.
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Links to Mary Oliver Readings
At the 92ndSt. Y NY City:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mary-oliverType your paragraph here.
On Being with Krista Tippet: https://onbeing.org/programs/mary-oliver-listening-to-the-world-jan2019/
Sleeping In The Forest
I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better
Everything That Was Broken
Everything that was broken has
forgotten its brokenness. I live
now in a sky-house, through every
window the sun. Also your presence.
Our touching, our stories. Earthy
and holy both. How can this be, but
it is. Every day has something in
it whose name is forever.
Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you’re Emily, a garden
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.
When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.
Anything that touches.
God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.
In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.
All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.
To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.
For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!
Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing
The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.
Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this Now, that now is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in the black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries—roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This
I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay— how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.