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Our World Hardcover – October 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807068802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807068809
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The photographs Oliver has chosen reflect Cook’s intuitive relationship with her subjects (even inanimate objects). The little girl on the stoop in New York City looks directly at the photographer, as does a kindly Robert Motherwell and a fierce, almost intimidating Walker Evans. Even though most of the photographs are dominated by a central person or object, there is a lot to look at in the margins, all part of the story. The stance of her subjects—reading a book, looking through a telescope—is always distinctive, creating the mood of the entire composition. The two photos of Oliver could have been taken only by someone who knew the subject well."—Susan Salter Reynolds, L. A. Times, January 6, 2007

"Cook was evidently an accomplished printer as well as a photographer and the images have been beautifully reproduced…In a photo which Cook took of Jean Cocteau dining in Venice in May 1954—one of her several fine portraits of celebrities—we glimpse the photographer silhouetted in an oval mirror on the wall behind the French poet. Her own face is hidden by her upheld camera but we sense that she controls the composition. In this selection of Cook’s work, so admirable in intention, she herself remains something of a shadow in a mirror. But perhaps, given her honesty of eye, we come to know her best by seeing the world as it once appeared through the discretion of her lens."—Eric Ormsby, The New York Sun (December 5, 2007)

"Mary Oliver. In a region that has produced most of the nation's poet laureates, it is risky to single out one fragile 71-year-old bard of Provincetown. But Mary Oliver, who won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1983, is my choice for her joyous, accessible, intimate observations of the natural world. Her Wild Geese has become so popular it now graces posters in dorm rooms across the land. But don't hold that against her. Read almost anything in New and Selected Poems. She teaches us the profound act of paying attention—a living wonder that makes it possible to appreciate all the others."—Renée Loth, Boston Globe

About the Author

Mary Oliver is one of the most celebrated and best-selling poets in America. Her books include Red Bird; Our World; Thirst; Blue Iris; New and Selected Poems, Volume One; and New and Selected Poems, Volume Two. She has also published five books of prose, including Rules for the Dance and, most recently, Long Life. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on October 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Simply the name Mary Oliver causes a shift in my countenance and my being. My steps are different when I am present to who she is as a writer and human being, so it shouldn't surprise me, what happened this morning.

I was minding my own business walking across my local bookstore when I heard the sound of wind rushing from my mouth. It was like the jolt happened so quickly my brain couldn't quite orient around the words, "Our World" and the names Mary Oliver and Molly Malone Cook.

I had no choice. I had to stop all my other book plans and sit with this one, just be with it, soak it in, allow it to do its work on my soul as I knew intuitively it would.

Last winter I became the self-appointed one woman marketing machine for Mary Oliver's "Thirst" - a collection of poetry written as she grieved the loss of her life partner, Molly Malone Cook, someone who I never knew yet felt I knew through reading Oliver's work. I stood at a bookstore crying as I read that book, sobbing, openly - aching and simultaneously being stunned by the beauty of the poetry.

Now, in this volume, not only do I have words - I have Molly Malone Cook's photography.

It is like being invited into the most intimate chambers of a lifetime soul-love affair. It is deeply personal, extremely intense memoir of love. That energy is on each page as Oliver builds a model of appreciation for Molly Malone Cook for us all to follow.

Now, the "other" juicy stuff - photos by Molly Malone Cook that show a deep love and appreciation of books, of learning, of activism, of art and of the "faces of the world" - one of her early childhood ambitions, so it tells us in the text "was to see every face in America.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Ryder on April 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just loved this book. Somehow it opened an intimate window into the life of Molly Malone Cook, without ever disrespecting the sacred nature of her life. Mary Oliver does this with grace. They clearly shared their lives together, yet still kept their individuality intact. Mary Oliver remarks, towards the end of the book, on her own recognised gift for attention. She goes on to pay tribute to Molly for teaching her this: "attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openess - an empathy - was necessary is the attention was to matter." This tribute inspires me to continue the journey towards greater presence in my life.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Judith A. Hope on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
'Our World' is a pleasingly presented book. Intended to depict the life shared by Molly and Mary (Oliver). It relies on journal notes by Mary and photographs by Molly... recalling conversational moments between them, times with friends,and shared ventures into galleries, publishing, etc.

It succeeds in its intention .. and is a pleasant glimpse into their life... poignant in view of Molly's death in recent years.

I find it to be a little too distant and a good degree removed from their real relationship and life .... rather it relies on anecdotal episodes ... glimpses .. and momentary flashes.

Pleasant - Yes. Deeply told, or fundamentally informing of their real life - No.
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