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

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