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House of Light Paperback – April 8, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (April 8, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080706811X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807068113
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In her seventh book, Oliver--Pulitzer Prize winner for her 1984 collection, American Primitive ( LJ 2/15/83)--carries readers into her vivid landscape and involves them in her process of discovery and recognition--from the tiny white spot in the distance, to the realization that it's a bird, to the name and song of the bird. This is a poet who rhetorically asks: "how could there be a day in your whole life/ that doesn't have its splash of happiness?" Lyrical lines move gracefully across the page as the spirituality mounts. One is tempted to call these poems too "poetic" or "romantic," but Oliver does not avoid nature's cruelty. With original, compelling vision, she discovers the same "splash of happiness" in the snow shining around a beggar boy or the smile of a woman cleaning toilets in Indonesia. Recommended.
- Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Oliver's poems are thoroughly convincing--as genuine, moving, and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring. -The New York Times Book Review

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

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This is another of Mary Oliver's incredible books of poetry.
Teacher Jan
It is like reading about these wonders, and seeing them for the first time from your heart.
Donald J. DaRos
Mary Oliver's poems are always beautiful, carefully observations of nature.
James Kelly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've read just about everything that Mary Oliver has written...and something about "House of Light" makes me sit up and LISTEN to the natural world. These poems -- I think especially of "The Kookaburras" -- invite us to become more accountable for every thought, action, and gesture. Mary's poems break my heart open again and again; they're soul-food for me; they remind me of what is essential. Mary is a compassionate witness for the exquisite minutae of life.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
After reading "House of Light" by Mary Oliver (the book was a gift for my sixteenth birthday a few years back) I began to write. It is inspirational ! Oliver captures the essence of each animal, plant, and situation. My personal favorites are: "The Buddha's Last Instruction" and "The Hermit Crab" The book is refreshing and a must have for poetry lovers!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By oleary@nadn.navy.mil on January 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
The poems bring us close to nature and enable us to create a link of awareness that is sometimes soft, sometimes shattering. We are connected closely to the animals and birds - "The Kookaburras" made me cry. The reality of death is treated in a way that makes us pay attention and live NOW and know that when we are enveloped by that vast darkness, as everything eventually is, it will be alright.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Future Green Girl VINE VOICE on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first Mary Oliver poem I ever read was stapled to a gift basket I received from my company. The occasion was the death of my mother. I read the poem over and over, transfixed, unable to picture anything but the ending image of the transcendent light washing us from our bones. This poem went straight to my core and has never left, 3 years later. She was cremated, delivered to the light, and somehow it was right and fitting that this poem become my sole and proprietary piece of connection. Her works are soaring and filled with buoyancy. Her vision and quiet observation of the world has captured me gently, gently.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. DaRos on June 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Mary Oliver's work, period. House of Light invites the reader on a journey to awareness of natural and simple everyday things, which take on a specialness in the chosen words of Mary Oliver. I can see Mary Oliver as a "Universalist" and a darn good one at that.

The awarness about which I write is that which leads to insight and love of things in nature. It is like reading about these wonders, and seeing them for the first time from your heart. There is also the gift of interior silence that is created in your soul as you "SEE" that which you read. It is no wonder that "House of Light" was the winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Donald J. Da Ros
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Krista Strother on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
House of Light is a wonderful collection of poetry by the Pulitzer Prize poet Mary Oliver. Her poetry provides an unrelenting guide to the natural world. The reader can interpret each poem and make a connection in their own life or they can appreciate the beauty of her words and move on to the next poem. In "Kookaburras", Oliver writes about recognizing your true self. Everyone should let themselves out of the cage and be free. "In The Ponds" Oliver paints a scene of perfect lilies. Upon further review, the lilies are not perfect but marred by imperfections. "I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing--that the light is everything--that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do." There are more important things to worry about in life than all the flaws. Oliver's poetry provides a practical awareness of the world around her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Faithful Scott on July 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely love Mary Oliver's House Of Light poems and find that whenever I need to feel enriched I reach for her book. It is just lovely and rich with wonderful imagery and a tinge of Eastern philosophy sometimes, I think. She is my favorite poet, although I have not liked all her work. This particular book is the best one I've had of her poems and I've given many copies as gifts to those I love best. Thank you Amazon for making it available.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Martin on November 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
How do you review something so ethereal as Mary Oliver's poetry? It transports you into another world. It doesn't disappoint and will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.
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