- Hardcover: 255 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press; First edition (September 23, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807068187
- ISBN-13: 978-0807068182
- Package Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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New and Selected Poems Hardcover – September 23, 1992
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As Diane Wakoski has noted, the power of Mary Oliver's Frost-influenced pastoral writing is in her ability to cast a spell, to create "the illusion that the natural world is graspable." Oliver's fierce independence, beautiful imagery, and love and knowledge of the natural world are all driven by a searching mind, expressed in poems that make for good company. In Some Questions You Might Ask, Oliver gives us this one to chew over: "Is the soul solid, like iron?/ or is it tender and breakable, like/ the wings of a moth in the beak of an owl?" Highly recommended.
From Publishers Weekly
This collection brings together poetry from eight of Oliver's previously published books and 30 new poems. In all of her work, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive , Oliver, "full of curiosity," writes about the natural world, engaging the entwined processes of life and death. "Amazement" figures in her persistent attention to things seen: "If you notice anything / it leads you to notice / more / and more." Description then leads to meditation, a leap beyond the material world. Fundamentally religious in impulse, many of the poems move quickly away from concrete description. Metaphors are not quite grounded in the real; rather, they are asserted, declared. Of a bear the one poem's speaker notes, "all day I think of her-- / her white teeth, her wordlessness, her perfect love." Even though this bear flicks the grass with her tongue, sharpens her claws against the "silence/of the trees," the reader cannot quite see her. It's as if Oliver reports on mysteries rather than embodying them. And so, despite its undeniable music, her work too often becomes rhetorical; too often its earnestness turns preachy and its feeling becomes sentimental.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
About Kindle version: Formatting is well-done except for a few stray hard hyphens.
Each work is masterful and seems a deep meditation that leaves a reader feeling refreshed and somehow privy to a personal, even private part of the poet as an investigator and witness to nature and its secrets.
Each time I read one of her poems I feel as if she is inviting me into the woods with her to witness the natural world in all of its sacredness.
I have yet to read a poem of hers that disappointed me.
Her mood-infused poem "Rain" (the first poem in the book) is sublime; and "Mushrooms" is glorious!
Read "Mushrooms" slowly and listen to the language; see the imagery in the mind:
Rain, and then
the cool pursed
lips of the wind
out of the ground---
red and yellow skulls
through sand; astonishing
in their suddenness,
their wetness, they appear
on fall mornings, some
balancing in the earth
on one hoof
packed with poison,
chunkily, and delicious---
those who know
walk out to gather, choosing
the benign from flocks
of glitterers, sorcerors,
shark-white death angels
in their torn veils
looking innocent as sugar
but full of paralysis:
is to stagger down
fast as mushrooms themselves
when they are done being perfect
slide back under the shining
fields of rain.
My God! I don't think that even a mushroom would know itself in that way.
She is a sublime witness to the natural world.
Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets -- and let me tell you, I don't have many "favorite poets".
I recommend this poetry collection to you!
This poems in this volume are organized into the years they were written. New poems (1991-1992), from House of light (1990), from Dream work (1986), from American primitive (1983), from Twelve Moons (1979), from The night traveler and Sleeping in the forest (1978 also includes five poems not previously published in any volume), from The river Styx, Ohio and other poems (1972), and from No voyage and other poems (1963-1965). There are so many wonderful poems in this collection that it is difficult to choose any favorite ones, but here is just a small sample of the ones I really liked a lot. When death comes, The waterfall, October, The sea, Wild Geese, Starfish, Sunrise, Lightening, and The first snow.
In conclusion, if you are a fan of Mary Oliver's poetry, you should check out this volume.
Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: The Samurai Soul: An old warrior's poetic tribute)