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New and Selected Poems, Volume One Paperback – April 15, 2004
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Praise for the poetry of Mary Oliver:
'One of the astonishing aspects of Oliver's work is the consistency of tone over this long period. What changes is an increased focus on nature and an increased precision with language that has made her one of our very best poets . . . There is no complaint in Ms. Oliver's poetry, no whining, but neither is there the sense that life is in any way easy . . . These poems sustain us rather than divert us. Although few poets have fewer human beings in their poems than Mary Oliver, it is ironic that few poets also go so far to help us forward.' -Stephen Dobyns, New York Times Book Review
'Mary Oliver's poetry is fine and deep; it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations.' -Stanley Kunitz
'One would have to reach back perhaps to [John] Clare or [Christopher] Smart to safely cite a parallel to Oliver's lyricism or radical purification and her unappeasable mania for signs and wonders.' -David Barber, Poetry
'I have always thought of poems as my companions-and like companions, they accompany you wherever the journey (or the afternoon) might lead . . . My most recent companion has been Mary Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud . . . It's a brilliant meditation, a walk through the natural world with one of our preeminent contemporary poets.' -Rita Dove, Washington Post
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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)