Mary Oliver Dream Work

ISBN 13: 9780871130693

Dream Work

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Dream Work, a collection of forty-five poems, follows both chronologically and logically Mary Oliver’s American Primitive, which won her the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1983. The depth and diversity of perceptual awareness so steadfast and radiant in American Primitive continues in Dream Work. Additionally, she has turned her attention in these poems to the solitary and difficult labors of the spirit to accepting the truth about one’s personal world, and to valuing the triumphs while transcending the failures of human relationships.

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Dream Work, a collection of forty-five poems, follows both chronologically and logically Mary Oliver's American Primitive, which won the Pulitzer Prize for the finest book of poetry published in 1983 by an American poet. The depth and diversity of perceptual awareness--so steadfast and radiant in American Primitive--continue in Dream Work. Additionally, she has turned her attention in these poems to the solitary and difficult labors of the spirit--to accepting the truth about one's personal world, and to valuing the triumphs while transcending the failures of human relationships.

Whether by way of inheritance--as in her poems about the Holocaust--or through a painful glimpse into the present--as in "Acid," a poem about an injured boy begging in the streets of Indonesia--the events and tendencies of history take on a new importance also. More deeply than in her previous volumes, the sensibility behind these poems has merged with the world. Mary Oliver's willingness to be joyful continues, deepened by self-awareness, by experience, and by choice.

"Her poems are wonderingly perceptive and strongly written, but beyond that they are a spirited, expressive meditation on the impossibilities of what we call lives, and on the gratifications of change."--Hayden Carruth

Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio. Among the awards and prizes she has received are the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award. Her collection of poetry American Primitive received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and New and Selected Poems received a National Book Award in 1992. Ms. Oliver has served on the faculties of Case Western Reserve, Bucknell, the University of Cincinnati, Sweet Briar College, and Duke University. She currently lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts and teaches literature at Bennington College.

From Library Journal:

In the making of her poems, Oliver wields the most delicate of instruments: precision similes and astonishing metaphors. Though Dream Work , her seventh book, is somewhat less sucessful than Twelve Moons or American Primitive , which won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize, few lyric voices can match hers in paying homage to the natural world. Yet, her "dream works" can be palpably tragic. Inured to the absence of her estranged father ("Rage" and "A Visitor"), Oliver "saw what love might have done had we loved in time." And "Members of the Tribe" is a remarkable address to artists and poets on death and art. There are still too many echoes of James Wright in her workreferences to body, blessing, blossom, and bone. But that is a minor demur against one who is developing into a major poet. J.P. Lewis, Integrative Studies Dept., Otterbein Coll., Westerville, Ohio
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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