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A Thousand Mornings Hardcover – October 11, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Beginning with her first poetry book in 1963, Oliver has chronicled her enthrallment to the living world, especially the land and sea surrounding Provincetown, Massachusetts, and her spiritual evolution. In her newest collection, her compact poems are conversational and teasing, yet their taproots reach deeply into the aquifers of religion, philosophy, and literature. Some read like brief fables, such as when an old fox compares their respective species and tells the poet, “You fuss, we live.” A Bob Dylan quote inspires a poem about song, while a mockingbird’s mimicry elicits thoughts about authenticity and one’s true self. The crucial and moving poem “Hum, Hum” describes a scarring childhood redeemed by the solace of the embracing, living world and the words of poets. Oliver is funny and renegade as she protests cultural vapidity, greed, violence, and environmental decimation and ravishing in her close readings of nature, such as the resplendent “Tides,” which surges like the sea. Ultimately, Oliver warns us that “the only ship there is / is the ship we are all on / burning the world as we go.” --Donna Seaman

About the Author

Born in a small town in Ohio, MARY OLIVER published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-eight. Over the course of her long career, she has received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She has led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catherine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. Oliver currently lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; 1 edition (October 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204777
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There is one complaint to be made about A Thousand Mornings: it is far too short -- 80 pages, and many of those pages are blank. However, when the pages are not blank, we are drawn into the world of Mary Oliver, and it is a world from which we do not eagerly depart!

The book opens with the wry humor of "I Go Down to the Shore," and moves from there to the Roethkean questionings of "I Happened to Be Standing": "But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be if it isn't a prayer?" There are several one-paragraph prose poems of "earth-praise," which will entice those readers who are willing to be enticed. There is a dialogue with a fox, resumed from earlier books, and a nod to Bob Dylan, expanding on one of the book's epigraphs, Dylan's words: "Anything worth thinking about is also worth singing about." Oliver speaks of growth in the midst of devastation in the poem "Hurricane"; and this reader smiled at "Three Things to Remember," even if the poem was too baldly "proverbial."

The change of the seasons, summer to autumn, is depicted in "Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness," although to be sure, there is metaphoric darkness:

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

The title poem, "A Thousand Mornings," is a prose-poem of a single sentence, but we do not indict the poem for brevity, when it speaks of "mak[ing] its way however it can over the rough ground of uncertainties, but only until night meets and then is overwhelmed by morning, the light deepening, the wind easing...
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Format: Hardcover
I loved the nature poems in this volume, and the two about Oliver's dog, but the one I want to highlight stood out and uniquely spoke to me and it is about neither of those.

The Morning Paper

Read one newspaper daily (the morning edition
is the best
for by evening you know that you at least
have lived through another day)
and let the disasters, the unbelievable
yet approved decisions,
soak in.

I don't need to name the countries,
ours among them.

What keeps us from falling down, our faces
to the ground;ashamed, ashamed?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I greet any new volume from Mary Oliver eagerly, and this one is particularly fine. It seems tinged with a certain autumnal somberness. For the uninitiated, Oliver writes primarily about the natural world around her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. (I'm taking "Lines Written in Days of Growing Darkness" to a solstice celebration.) But there are also poems here about her family, about the news and travel and about the demise of her endearing dog, Percy.

This is the first time I've downloaded poetry to my Kindle, and I am eager to see if I read it more often this way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book I keep beside me, day and night. For an instant connection to Mother Earth. I randomly open it and read whatever is in front of me. Mary Oliver is a one of a kind human/poet, who can say in her excellent choice of words, what so many of us feel. Thank you, Mary Oliver.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, but I do relate to the reviews who also said there was a lot of blank pages and white space. There isn't the stand out poems that have been present in some of her earlier books, and this book probably wouldn't have been printed if she were any other writer. It's a bit thin on content and even on those concrete images that have been present in some of her earlier books. Still, this one will make a nice addition for the fan of poetry or of Oliver.

I gave this three stars because, while I'm a huge fan of Oliver's and did enjoy it, I didn't LOVE it. Does that mean it's a bad book? Not at all. In fact, if you're an Oliver fan, you're happy that she's still putting out books in her iconic style.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am always impressed with the word choices and deep reflections of Mary Oliver.
This book is no exception. I just spent a lovely afternoon savoring this book and I'm buying more copies for friends.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This collection of poetry, is, as usual, wonderfully insightful and sensitive. She is always in touch with nature, with herself, and with the "spiritual." These poems seem to reflect her movement into an older phase of her life. She remains reverent, curious, and in awe of life in all of its forms.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of course, always a delight to read more Mary Oliver - can't get enough of her. What a mystic she is. I just read one of her observations and stare out in space and say, why yes, that is it true. Or how simple that is. Again, how does she do it! And I'm glad that she continues to write for us to enjoy what she sees and hears.
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