About the Author:
Mary Oliver was born in Maple Heights, Ohio in 1935. Her first collection American Primitive (1983) won a Pulitzer Prize. It was followed by books including Dream Work (1986), House of Light (1990), New and Selected Poems (1992), White Pine (1994), West Wind (1997), Winter Hours (1999), The Leaf and the Cloud (2000), What Do We Know (2002), Owls and Other Fantasies (2003), Why I Wake Early (2004), Blue Iris (2004), New and Selected Poems: volume two (2005), and a CD recording, At Blackwater Pond: Mary Oliver reads Mary Oliver (2005). Bloodaxe published her first UK selection, Wild Geese: Selected Poems, in 2004, followed by her latest work, Thirst, (2007), Red Bird (2008) and Evidence (2009). Mary Oliver is America's biggest selling contemporary poet. She holds the Catherine Osgood Foster Chair at Bennington College, Vermont, and lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Oliver has been publishing poetry collections since 1963, and her latest is gloriously alive, inquisitive, and welcoming. A prolific and cherished poet, she makes readers feel as though they’ve been part of the quest for wisdom and grace she records in her lucid, giving, prayerful poems. Oliver writes of meditative walks and moments of radiant recognition. Gratitude is the mode here, and sustained attention is the vehicle, as acknowledged with her signature clarity in two of many bird poems. In “Empty Branch in the Orchard,” the poet waits, year after year, for the return of a hummingbird; in “Snowy Egret,” she writes of one who “has come again to the shallows in front of my house / as he has for forty years.” There it is: what we long for, and what we hold dear. Within each lifting lyric, Oliver declares all of life holy. She affirms her poetry habit, “The comforts / of language / are true / and deep.” And she reminds us that, in spite of anguish and loss, “to have loved / is everything.”
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