Buy New
$9.70
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.00
  • Save: $4.30 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Details
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
American Primitive has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

American Primitive Paperback – April 30, 1983


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.70
$7.98 $1.39
$9.70 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

American Primitive + Dream Work + House of Light
Price for all three: $33.55

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st edition (April 30, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316650048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316650045
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A private person by nature, Mary Oliver has given very few interviews over the years. Instead, she prefers to let her work speak for itself. And speak it has, for the past five decades, to countless readers. The New York Times recently acknowledged Mary Oliver as "far and away, this country's best-selling poet." Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28; No Voyage and Other Poems, originally printed in the UK by Dent Press, was reissued in the United States in 1965 by Houghton Mifflin. Oliver has since published many works of poetry and prose. As a young woman, Oliver studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College, but took no degree. She lived for several years at the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay in upper New York state, companion to the poet's sister Norma Millay. It was there, in the late '50s, that she met photographer Molly Malone Cook. For more than forty years, Cook and Oliver made their home together, largely in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they lived until Cook's death in 2005. Over the course of her long and illustrious career, Oliver has received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She has also received the Shelley Memorial Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award; the Christopher Award and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light; the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems; a Lannan Foundation Literary Award; and the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence. Oliver's essays have appeared in Best American Essays 1996, 1998, 2001; the Anchor Essay Annual 1998, as well as Orion, Onearth and other periodicals. Oliver was editor of Best American Essays 2009. Oliver's books on the craft of poetry, A Poetry Handbook and Rules for the Dance, are used widely in writing programs. She is an acclaimed reader and has read in practically every state as well as other countries. She has led workshops at various colleges and universities, and held residencies at Case Western Reserve University, Bucknell University, University of Cincinnati, and Sweet Briar College. From 1995, for five years, she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Art Institute of Boston (1998), Dartmouth College (2007) and Tufts University (2008). Oliver currently lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the inspiration for much of her work.

Photo Credit: Rachel Giese Brown, 2009.

Customer Reviews

Lovely work here and a good introduction to Mary Oliver's work.
Ms. Mary O'donnell
Oliver has grace and beauty to share, and an abundance of love and respect for the world of nature.
C. Martinez
I was really impressed by "American Primitive," the collection of poems by Mary Oliver.
Michael J. Mazza

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was really impressed by "American Primitive," the collection of poems by Mary Oliver. I knew that this book was special when I got to the third poem, "The Kitten." This poem about a stillborn kitten stopped me dead in my tracks. Painful yet beautiful, tragic yet transcendent, it sets a powerful tone for the collection as a whole.
And "American Primitive" does indeed strike me as a unified whole. It consists mostly of poems about American wildlife, with some poems that touch on people in United States history. The poems are often about the cycles of life, including birth, death, and loss. In some poems eating becomes a transcendent act that points to the connectedness of all life.
Oliver writes about mushrooms, blackberries, crows, egrets, deer, snakes, whales, and other living things. She also writes about such natural phenomena as snow and sunlight. Her language is often striking and sensuous. I love the lines from "Spring" where she says "The rain / rubs its shining hands all over me." With her attentiveness to the natural world, Oliver reminded me somewhat of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, but she really has a voice and vision all her own in "American Primitive."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Juan Mobili on July 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
To read any poem by Mary Oliver is to be in the presence of the exquisite potential of language for marrying beauty and wisdom. Rarely a poet, so inclined not to impose her view nor her beliefs on anyone, can leave such profound impression on how we may come to see the world. And to read -to live, really- each poem of "American Primitive" is to educate your heart.
Someone said, very appropriately so, that Oliver's poems may have the less humans in them than any contemporary poet's body of work, yet in the case of this magnificent book, two of its most stunning choices -"John Chapman" and "The Lost Children"- has Oliver bring the same keen compassion and awe for the tragic and the gracious in being our kind, that she does when speaking of foxes, mushrooms, or crows and owls.
"John Chapman," for instance, contains some of the wisest lines about being one of us, humans, that you will find in American poetry. Chapman was the real John Appleseed who "thought little, / on a rainy night, / of sharing the shelter of a hollow log touching / flesh with any creatures there" and, yet, as a woman in the poems recalls "he spoke / only once of women and his gray eyes / brittled into ice. "Some / are deceivers," he whispered, and she felt / the pain of it, remembered it / into her old age."
I wonder if Oliver chose him because he lived his life during those times when this country was learning to be this country -and perhaps because of it- we were, for the last time, as close as a species to the rest of nature as we ever had.
"The Lost Children" is also about those times too, yet about those of one kind taken by those who were the natives to this land.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you don't, you just might find it here. Oliver writes in snatches of brilliant lyrical imagery, yet weaves those bits together without fail into something larger than the reader expects. She is the master at making oblique connections to truths we know subconsciously, and she uses startling, beautiful, and fresh language to do so. When one reads Oliver's poems, it is the equivalent of wandering the streets of a new city amazed by the strange and wonderful sights and smells, only to round a corner and slam into your oldest friend. These poems are ideas your soul already knows, but your mind rarely does. Oliver is the translator between the two.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Panio on October 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I don't know how Mary Oliver can write fifty poems about transcendence and nature and not once sound repetitive. Her voice is stunning. Startling, lucid, reverential... just gorgeous.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Anyone having had a close study of the body of human verse would recognize the mastery in Mary Oliver's poetry. American Primitive deserves all of the recognition it has received. It ties the elegance of transcendence to the reality of the contemporary world. It is a celebration of the human being and the human being's life-long companion, nature. Oliver's use of the English languge is polished, well-crafted, and wild. Mary Oliver's work takes its place along side of Kunitz, Milosz, and other contemporary masters. I was licking the pages. And, by the way, "P. Larkin," you're not fooling anyone.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
"American Primitive" is among the finest books of poetry written by an American author in the last 25 years. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize, it is a precise and lucid notation of the natural world. Oliver does not shun away from the severe brutality of every day yet does not paint the beauty of nature's cycle with any diminishment. It has undoubtedly influenced my own writing and is a book I return to to find some sort of truth in accounting for the way things are
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Spring on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book that moves me everytime I read it. It is a book that explores the natural world and how nature merges with our own internal landscapes. An important book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Baker on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Down to earth poetry of daily life and applications. Read, think, reread, and connect.This is just what I was hoping for.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?