Oliver has been publishing poetry collections since 1963, and her latest is gloriously alive, inquisitive, and welcoming. A prolific and cherished poet, she makes readers feel as though they’ve been part of the quest for wisdom and grace she records in her lucid, giving, prayerful poems. Oliver writes of meditative walks and moments of radiant recognition. Gratitude is the mode here, and sustained attention is the vehicle, as acknowledged with her signature clarity in two of many bird poems. In “Empty Branch in the Orchard,” the poet waits, year after year, for the return of a hummingbird; in “Snowy Egret,” she writes of one who “has come again to the shallows in front of my house / as he has for forty years.” There it is: what we long for, and what we hold dear. Within each lifting lyric, Oliver declares all of life holy. She affirms her poetry habit, “The comforts / of language / are true / and deep.” And she reminds us that, in spite of anguish and loss, “to have loved / is everything.”
“A ‘nature’ poet in the league of Wordsworth, whose poetry is said to have inspired this volume. . . There is still almost audible excitement in her literary voice, but her nature mysticism seems to have reached a stage more of stillness—a quiet that is not so much a quality as a presence that informs most of her images . . . A subtle collection that sometimes teaches but never preaches. All the usual Oliver themes—the divine in the physical world, the importance of having loved, the power and consolation of words—are present.”
—Tim Pfaff, Bay Area Reporter
“Gloriously alive, inquisitive, and welcoming. A prolific and cherished poet, [Oliver] makes readers feel as though they’ve been part of the quest for wisdom and grace she records in her lucid, giving, prayerful poems . . . Gratitude is the mode here, and sustained attention is the vehicle . . . Within each lifting lyric, Oliver declares all of life holy.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist
“I think of Oliver as a fierce, uncompromising lyricist, a loyalist of the marshes. Hers is a voice we desperately need.”
—Maxine Kumin From the Trade Paperback edition.