Poet Spotlight: Mary Oliver

Recommended Poetry Book: Devotions

Lived: 1935-2019

Favourite Quote:

So it comes first: the world. Then, literature. And then, what one pencil moving over a thousand miles of paper can (perhaps, sometimes) do.

Upstream (a collection of essays)

Selected Poem: The Poet With His Face in His Hands

Opening stanza:

You want to cry aloud for your / mistakes. But to tell the truth the world / doesn’t need any more of that sound.


Mary Oliver understood me. She understood how the woods could be a home, how words could be a sanctuary. She knew the difficulty of a scream aloud, but also the importance of one expressed. She knew that nature was just meant to be and that a human, humanity, is nature too.

Other Poems

  • Wild Geese
  • A Summer Day
  • Some Questions You Might Ask
  • The Journey
  • At Blackwater Woods
  • Don’t Hesitate
  • When Death Comes
  • Invitation
  • Swans

Top 10 Victorian Novels

This is one of my favourite periods of literature. The Victorian era is filled with light and dark, satire and tragedy–some novels possess both, depending on how one perceives it.

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  4. Emma by Jane Austen
  5. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
  6. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  9. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  10. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf