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New and Selected Poems, Volume One

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Features previously published and new poems that explore the natural world and how it is connected to human beings and spirituality.


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Features previously published and new poems that explore the natural world and how it is connected to human beings and spirituality.

30 review for New and Selected Poems, Volume One

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    RIP, Mary Oliver, 1/17/19 “When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” RIP, Mary Oliver, 1/17/19 “When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I'll admit it. I'm often intimidated by poetry. Many times I can't understand or find meaning in poems I've read. I was familiar with some of Mary Oliver's most well-known poems, such as "The Summer Day", "Wild Geese", and "Why I Wake Early", but wouldn't have read this entire book if it wasn't for a challenge for National Poetry month. I'm very glad that I took the time to go through this book poem by poem. While there were a few that left me scratching my head, on the whole Oliver's poems are ap I'll admit it. I'm often intimidated by poetry. Many times I can't understand or find meaning in poems I've read. I was familiar with some of Mary Oliver's most well-known poems, such as "The Summer Day", "Wild Geese", and "Why I Wake Early", but wouldn't have read this entire book if it wasn't for a challenge for National Poetry month. I'm very glad that I took the time to go through this book poem by poem. While there were a few that left me scratching my head, on the whole Oliver's poems are approachable and quite moving. Using the natural world as inspiration, Oliver creates metaphors and observations about the human condition that beautifully ring true. I dog-eared at least 20 poems in this collection, so I can easily find them later, and discovered new favorites such as "Whelks" "The Sun", "University Hospital, Boston" and "The Black Walnut Tree". 4 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Debbie "DJ"

    Fantastic! Oliver's poems always touch my heart, and this collection shares her best...especially "Wild Geese," and "The Journey." Fantastic! Oliver's poems always touch my heart, and this collection shares her best...especially "Wild Geese," and "The Journey."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    I LOVE Mary Oliver and would recommend her poetry to anyone. One of the reasons I so love her work is that she is totally accessible. She doesn't write those things that are so obtuse that you are afraid to say, "What the hell is that about?" because everyone else is also afraid to say that and so they all act like it's just brilliant and so no one ever just says, "That makes no *&$%!*&! sense at all. It's horrible." And such is the world of art and poetry today. Anyway, enough of my rant. If you I LOVE Mary Oliver and would recommend her poetry to anyone. One of the reasons I so love her work is that she is totally accessible. She doesn't write those things that are so obtuse that you are afraid to say, "What the hell is that about?" because everyone else is also afraid to say that and so they all act like it's just brilliant and so no one ever just says, "That makes no *&$%!*&! sense at all. It's horrible." And such is the world of art and poetry today. Anyway, enough of my rant. If you don't care for poetry but would like to, read Mary Oliver. My two favorite poems are "Summer Day" & "Wild Geese." Google them. Read them. Go ahead. I dare you. On the other hand, if you are a fan of urinal upside down on the wall installation art, forget it. You'll hate this. It makes too much sense. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tom Shadyac

    Mary Oliver is a national treasure. She is as close to a living, breathing, Ralph Waldo Emerson as we have today. And while her poetry explores the beauty of nature, Mary never forgets that we are nature, as well. Lessons learned from the grace of a swan, or the patience discerned in the face of a stone, bring us closer to the essential and therefore, bring us closer to ourselves. You can’t go wrong with any of her books. My introduction was a poem entitled, The Journey, and I quickly found myse Mary Oliver is a national treasure. She is as close to a living, breathing, Ralph Waldo Emerson as we have today. And while her poetry explores the beauty of nature, Mary never forgets that we are nature, as well. Lessons learned from the grace of a swan, or the patience discerned in the face of a stone, bring us closer to the essential and therefore, bring us closer to ourselves. You can’t go wrong with any of her books. My introduction was a poem entitled, The Journey, and I quickly found myself deliriously, deliciously addicted. Her First and Second Anthologies are wonderful and give the reader an overview of her immense talent and gift. But I encourage you to read it all, every glorious poem or prose. Mary has glimpsed the divine, and with language that is direct and clear, encourages all of us to simply pay attention, and to wake up to the beauty bursting around us.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Not often, but now and again there's a moment when the heart cries aloud: yes, I am willing to be that wild darkness, that long, blue body of light. Mary Oliver takes my breath away. Not often, but now and again there's a moment when the heart cries aloud: yes, I am willing to be that wild darkness, that long, blue body of light. Mary Oliver takes my breath away.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    these are poems that teach us how to read (and write) poems. also how to be alive, pay attention, fall in love, find god. it goes in reverse chronological order, so we get to follow the truth as it wiggles all the way back into Oliver's earliest published poems, and waits to expand into every pore of her later work. a brief list of words she uses in her poems that i want to use in my poems: blouse surge lace coward sorrow soft valentine rife quick death unstinting foolish blossoms. i read "in blackwater woo these are poems that teach us how to read (and write) poems. also how to be alive, pay attention, fall in love, find god. it goes in reverse chronological order, so we get to follow the truth as it wiggles all the way back into Oliver's earliest published poems, and waits to expand into every pore of her later work. a brief list of words she uses in her poems that i want to use in my poems: blouse surge lace coward sorrow soft valentine rife quick death unstinting foolish blossoms. i read "in blackwater woods" to my cat the night before she was put to sleep two weeks ago. "to live in this world/ you must be able/ to do three things:/ to love what is mortal;/ to hold it/ against your bones/knowing your own life depends on it;/ and, when the time comes to let it go/to let it go." oliver makes being alive and being dying careful, beautiful states of grace. i am forever grateful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    "When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms." This book... I have no words. Every poem in this volume was brilliant. I had to stop myself from bookmarking every piece and ended up bookmarking every other piece. I took my time reading this book just to be able to soak up its beauty better. For many people, poetry is associated with romantic love and longing. I don't think any of these were about romance. Mary "When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms." This book... I have no words. Every poem in this volume was brilliant. I had to stop myself from bookmarking every piece and ended up bookmarking every other piece. I took my time reading this book just to be able to soak up its beauty better. For many people, poetry is associated with romantic love and longing. I don't think any of these were about romance. Mary Oliver's works are focused on nature, animals, the depth of the human experience, the non-romantic connection, and loyalty between people. These poems teem with life and it's heartbreakingly beautiful. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

    Yesterday I gorged on my first feast of Mary Oliver's work, racing through three of her short books all in a day. I've started this one with determination to go a bit more slowly, but as I page through what is here, all I can think is oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! More, more, more, more, more! June 20 I've finally finished. I took my time with this one, as it covers poetry from many stages of her life, going back to the 1960s. It's hard to assign a rating, but I can recommend it without reservation. Yesterday I gorged on my first feast of Mary Oliver's work, racing through three of her short books all in a day. I've started this one with determination to go a bit more slowly, but as I page through what is here, all I can think is oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! More, more, more, more, more! June 20 I've finally finished. I took my time with this one, as it covers poetry from many stages of her life, going back to the 1960s. It's hard to assign a rating, but I can recommend it without reservation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie

    A Bitterness I believe you did not have a happy life. I believe you were cheated. I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery. I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression. I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling. I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger. I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all. I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as your bitterness. I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the A Bitterness I believe you did not have a happy life. I believe you were cheated. I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery. I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression. I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling. I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger. I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all. I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as your bitterness. I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the wiser and unassuaged. Oh, cold and dreamless under the wild, amoral, reckless, peaceful flowers of the hillsides.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tylor Lovins

    Wittgenstein once said "Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent." As a logico-philosophical imperative, this is also an ethical imperative. Oliver's anthology is beautiful and insightful as she is successful in expressing the inexpressible precisely because she does not try to do it. She simply describes life, and in her descriptions we begin to understand life in its competing contrasts and depths. These, it turns out, are the things we fail to learn from, and to see beauty in its na Wittgenstein once said "Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent." As a logico-philosophical imperative, this is also an ethical imperative. Oliver's anthology is beautiful and insightful as she is successful in expressing the inexpressible precisely because she does not try to do it. She simply describes life, and in her descriptions we begin to understand life in its competing contrasts and depths. These, it turns out, are the things we fail to learn from, and to see beauty in its nakedness. I'd recommend this to any reader of poetry.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Oh I love Mary Oliver. She is fierce about nature and just when you think you cannot possibly read another poem about another meadow flower she throws one at ya like "listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?" Brilliant I say. And I love her attitude about life, you can either mope around in your life or you can go forth with the ferocity of all that is splendid and real! Oh I love Mary Oliver. She is fierce about nature and just when you think you cannot possibly read another poem about another meadow flower she throws one at ya like "listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?" Brilliant I say. And I love her attitude about life, you can either mope around in your life or you can go forth with the ferocity of all that is splendid and real!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gearóid

    Just came across Mary Oliver by chance and so glad i did. Her poetry really bringing you immediately into beauty of nature and takes you away from the rush of modern life. Kind of like mindfulness makes you pause and realise what really matters. Finished this book but of course will continually re-read these great poems.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samata

    Its been a long time since I read her last...yesterday my little sister asked me what "ineffable" means, and as I was explaining its meaning to her somewhere inside someplace a tiny voice kept insisting,just say "its rather like a Mary Oliver poem"...I do not feel like addressing her with a commonplace Miss Oliver...not when I know her like that and she me..Mary strips me of all my desperate strength, all the futile hard earned evolution and adornments I managed to soil myself with on the way, a Its been a long time since I read her last...yesterday my little sister asked me what "ineffable" means, and as I was explaining its meaning to her somewhere inside someplace a tiny voice kept insisting,just say "its rather like a Mary Oliver poem"...I do not feel like addressing her with a commonplace Miss Oliver...not when I know her like that and she me..Mary strips me of all my desperate strength, all the futile hard earned evolution and adornments I managed to soil myself with on the way, and as I now sit back, softly murmuring the wise words of her love letters to life, I feel that natural nakedness again, all the excruciating otherness washed and anointed with tender images of the ridiculously simple,my hands are trembling as I type this,I cannot even begin to explain the kind of ancient guttural reflexes she elicits from me. Eliot said the natural language of drama is poetry, I say the natural language of all manner of sentience is music, or anything that evokes it thereby reversing the normal psycho-epistemological process and reaching that raw core in us directly and irrevocably. She does that and stays there. This is my first review here, and I wanted it to be for someone very very special,I read her back in those days when the idealism was just beginning to seep out,so here's to the memory of the 16 year old me and the trembling mass of inconsolable longing I have been thereafter,in memory of Mary the sensational lover,the ever faithful bride married to amazement, who always had room in her heart for the unimaginable,the soul born out of pure attentiveness,I don't want to know what path my life would have tread if you hadn't occurred to me..

  15. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Good poetry collection. Tended towards the nature poetry a bit much for my taste, but these are the collected poems so these are kind of like the greatest hits.

  16. 5 out of 5

    J & J

    Loved this collection. Definitely the kind of poetry that resonates with me. I look forward to reading more of Mary Oliver's work. Loved this collection. Definitely the kind of poetry that resonates with me. I look forward to reading more of Mary Oliver's work.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    queen of my heart and soul

  18. 4 out of 5

    Book2Dragon

    My favorite poet. Her work always blends simplicity and depth. She lived in the moment taking note of Nature and reveling in it. This is a volume of her earlier poems, and a feast for any lover of poetry. Mary is accessible, and if you don't really like poetry, I challenge you that Mary Oliver will change your mind. My favorite poet. Her work always blends simplicity and depth. She lived in the moment taking note of Nature and reveling in it. This is a volume of her earlier poems, and a feast for any lover of poetry. Mary is accessible, and if you don't really like poetry, I challenge you that Mary Oliver will change your mind.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I’m only sorry that it took her death to get me to return to Oliver’s work.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)

    Just breathtakingly beautiful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    kim

    i don’t know what it is about her work that makes me love her so. i just do.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    "There is only one question: how to love this world," Mary Oliver writes in "Spring," one of the finest poems in this collection. The selections in this book try to find answers to that question, primarily in the natural world. These are poems about nature and wonder, love and death, egrets and humpback whales. They aren't difficult poems, but straightforward in their precise, well-crafted imagery. There is a beauty in their apparent simplicity, in the observations of a poet clearly in love with "There is only one question: how to love this world," Mary Oliver writes in "Spring," one of the finest poems in this collection. The selections in this book try to find answers to that question, primarily in the natural world. These are poems about nature and wonder, love and death, egrets and humpback whales. They aren't difficult poems, but straightforward in their precise, well-crafted imagery. There is a beauty in their apparent simplicity, in the observations of a poet clearly in love with the natural world around her. In her own words: When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. From "When Death Comes"

  23. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I've been on a poetry kick lately. I would have told you 3 years ago that I don't get poetry, any poetry. But lately, I can't get enough. There are a few lines in some of these poems that knocked me out. Some of my favorites are The Summer Day, The Journey, Rage, A Visitor & In Blackwater Woods (which the quote below is taken from). Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us I've been on a poetry kick lately. I would have told you 3 years ago that I don't get poetry, any poetry. But lately, I can't get enough. There are a few lines in some of these poems that knocked me out. Some of my favorites are The Summer Day, The Journey, Rage, A Visitor & In Blackwater Woods (which the quote below is taken from). Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Mary Oliver is the greatest of them all. I bookmarked about 25 poems in this collection that I plan to read frequently (and already have.) She writes mainly about nature, starting with the smallest details described in the most artistic way, panning out its (and our) purpose in this world. I will say, I enjoyed the first half of this collection (poems from the '90s/'80s) significantly more than the second half (poems from the '60s/'70s). If you've ever wanted to get into poetry but roll your eyes Mary Oliver is the greatest of them all. I bookmarked about 25 poems in this collection that I plan to read frequently (and already have.) She writes mainly about nature, starting with the smallest details described in the most artistic way, panning out its (and our) purpose in this world. I will say, I enjoyed the first half of this collection (poems from the '90s/'80s) significantly more than the second half (poems from the '60s/'70s). If you've ever wanted to get into poetry but roll your eyes at rhyme or forced abstract descriptions, I love Oliver's effortless approachability.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Doug Wells

    What a lovely writer of simple and elegant thoughts. This one ventured more towards nature and natural settings. Part of one, In Blackwater Woods, will forever stick with me: To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, let it go.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laila (BigReadingLife)

    An accessible, beautiful, meaningful collection of poetry that everyone should read. Oliver has a marvelous way of writing about the natural world and situating herself (and us) within it, asking the big questions of existence. This is a collection that I will be reading for the rest of my life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    Not sure when I will be able to appreciate poetry. Until then this book is a DNF. Will give it a try after some years when I am wiser and older, maybe? I must try some other poets (or perhaps an anthology) to figure out the type of poetry that I would like. This definitely isn't my type. Not sure when I will be able to appreciate poetry. Until then this book is a DNF. Will give it a try after some years when I am wiser and older, maybe? I must try some other poets (or perhaps an anthology) to figure out the type of poetry that I would like. This definitely isn't my type.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    "Let us risk the wildest places, / Lest we go down in comfort, and despair." "Let us risk the wildest places, / Lest we go down in comfort, and despair."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    4.5 stars review to come

  30. 5 out of 5

    S.

    what can i say that i never have!!!!!!!! it was mind-blowing to meet mary oliver in her earliest poems ever published. this one is just fascinating to read through. what a clever trick to organize this collection in reversed chronological order! i find it created such a pronounced contrast between poems from dream work (1986) and house of light (1990), which are AMAZING collections, the ones where she begins to find her strongest voice, and her earliest poetry! you can notice the difference. i l what can i say that i never have!!!!!!!! it was mind-blowing to meet mary oliver in her earliest poems ever published. this one is just fascinating to read through. what a clever trick to organize this collection in reversed chronological order! i find it created such a pronounced contrast between poems from dream work (1986) and house of light (1990), which are AMAZING collections, the ones where she begins to find her strongest voice, and her earliest poetry! you can notice the difference. i loved meeting this younger mary, i loved reading her beginnings, the points of reference and similar observations that echo throughout the decades, most of all the elements she has left behind. of course, it is still, and will always be, the same mary, but reading a poem from "no voyage" (1963) and reading a poem from "west wind" (1997) and reading one from "red bird" (2008) and even one from "felicity" (2015) are such vastly different, yet comforting, experiences. i love having the knowledge of that. what can i say that i never have before? you know it, i know it. we all know it: there's no one like her. also my essay on mary oliver and death is coming someday somehow!!!!!!!!

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