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House of Light
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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 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
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 24, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified 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
Format: PaperbackVerified 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
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mary Oliver's House of Light is a wonderful, soulful collection of poetry dealing with nature, mortality, and spirituality. She invites readers to examine the things in life that are frequently overlooked: the deer in the morning, the herons on the pond, etc. By examining these things, Oliver is encouraging readers to appreciate life in its simplicity because it is so brief.

In one of my favorite poems from the collection, "The Deer," Oliver says "Each of us is only given// so many mornings to do it-// to look around and love// the oily fur of our lives." She is encouraging readings to use their time on this earth wisely because life is short. Time wasted is life wasted. To take another quote from the poem, "Death isn't just an idea." Death is very real, and it can come at any time; one must use the time given wisely. Another poem, "Praise," reveals that though Oliver understands the inevitability of death, she also encourages readers to see that death is beautiful and natural: "it stabs my heart// whenever something cries out// like a teardrop.// But isn't it wonderful..." Death is a natural part of life.

Oliver's poem, "The Ponds," takes on the idea of looking past the imperfections in life to realize the beauty beneath. She asks, "But what in this world// is perfect?" Even if something looks perfect, like the lilies she admires in the wild, imperfections and flaws will almost certainly emerge when you get closer: "I bend closer and see// how this one is clearly lopsided-// and that one wears an orange blight..." For her, the lilies are beautiful to behold whether they are perfectly formed or not. She ends her poem with that thought in mind: "I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing//... And I do." Life is imperfect, but it is also beautiful and full of light.

Oliver's poems reach to an audience and beg them to see life through Oliver's eyes. She has learned to appreciate the smallest pieces of nature. She has learned to accept death as both inevitable and beautiful. Her goal with this collection is to push readers to use every moment wisely because we never know which day will be our last. What a wonderful collection from a wonderful poet!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2015
Format: Paperback
I'm not much of a poetry reader, but Mary Oliver's book truly moved me. Listen to her in "The Oak Tree at the Entrance to Blackwater Pond":
"But, listen, I'm tired of that brazen promise,
death and resurrection...
What I loved, I mean, was THAT tree
tree of the moment--tree of my own sad, mortal heart,
and I don't want to sing anymore of the way
Osiris came home at last, on a clean and powerful ship, over
the dangerous sea, as a tall and beautiful stranger."
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