Sunday, April 15, 2012

Four by Mary Oliver

I enjoy reading poetry and I would like to get better at writing it. So I try to read at least one poem a day. My knowledge of contemporary poetry is woefully lacking, so when I saw four references (including this interview in a national magazine) to Mary Oliver in as many weeks, I decided I should read some of her work. I read one book last year, and enjoyed it, so I decided to pick up a few more. She's written many collections of poetry and essays, and I recently read four of them.

Mary Oliver writes many of her poems the way I would like to write poems. Many of them deal with nature and have some beautiful imagery. Generally, they are accessible, so there's no need to be afraid of them. They can also be enjoyed on multiple levels. Here are the titles of the books I read and some of the poems I enjoyed from each of them.

Why I Wake Early

  • Why I Wake Early
  • Freshen the Flowers, She Said
  • Breakage
  • Logos
The Truro Bear and Other Adventures

  • The Hermit Crab
  • The Summer Day
West Wind

  • Black Oaks
  • Am I Not Among the Early Risers
  • Stars
  • Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches
Owls and Other Fantasies

  • Wild Geese
  • Such Singing in the Wild Branches
  • Some Herons
Here is a quote I thought was good.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings. -- from "Starlings in Winter" (page 55)

If you enjoy nature and poetry, I would recommend Mary Oliver's work.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice quote. I will have to look for these books at our library. Thanks for the intro!