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Evidence: Poems Paperback – September 14, 2010
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—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.”
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Top Customer Reviews
Poetry is a genre that I generally keep my distance from because of my own personal misgivings, but Oliver is one of the few who I am instantly able to connect with because of her excellent ability to intertwine basic human needs and experiences with the beauty of the natural world that so many of us often overlook. If you are a person who appreciates the beauty of a nest of bird eggs or a blooming jacaranda tree, Oliver's poetry will speak to you in a way that other poetry fails to do. She hones your attention on enjoying the moment and what is real and organic - enjoying the yellow finches, the mockingbirds, and even the buzzards.
Not all the poems in this collection are destined to be long-remembered, however. Oliver can sometimes slip into a voice that tries to pass off familiar wisdom as deep insight. She can also be quite sentimental at times, though at other times her vision is ice hard. Her spirituality veers from the orthodox Christian to the new age mystic, but both are always at the service of an adoration of nature; she seems to me to be a pantheist in Christian garb. These issues, though, did not prevent me from enjoying the collection.
opens his throat
among the thorns
for his own reasons.........
Your clocks, he says plainly,
which are always ticking,
do not have to be listened to.
The spirit of his every word."
Unlike some modern poets, Oliver isn't in love with her own pen, and she doesn't use overly frilly or incomprehensible language - she simply expresses what she feels. I enjoyed most of the poems in this book very much, but as with any collection - whether it is poetry or short stories or essays - there were also some that just didn't appeal to me. Reading poetry is a personal experience - what speaks to one reader may be completely different than what speaks to another. So even though I only rated it 3 stars, I still recommend this collection - especially for those who are looking to experience some modern poetry that is simply, yet beautifully written.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mary Oliver opens our senses to experience what is all around us, nature at its best.Published 7 months ago by Mark Walker
OK, honestly, this is more of a four star book, not her best, but well worth my time! There are some real gems in here, and all of her work has a degree of shine. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jim Price
I read this when it came out in 2009 and just reread it. For right here and now, it's my favorite book, period. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mark
Mary Oliver is a National Treasure. She brings life and understanding to the beauty that surrounds us in nature. This includes insight into ourselves and others. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lucky Lady
Beautiful, fresh, tender poems from the inimitable Mary OliverPublished 12 months ago by Reader from Mayland