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Long Life: Essays and Other Writings

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A dazzling new collection of essays, poems, and prose poems by the best-selling author of "The Leaf and the Cloud" and "What Do We Know."
ebook, 120 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Da Capo Press (first published 2004)
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I cherish Mary Oliver for many reasons. She can brighten even the most dreary, wet subway rides home. Her observations and the elegant way she articulates them manages to lift me from my daily frustrations and shakes me to remember the simple beauty right in front of me. Even when my socks are wet and it's a long subway ride home and there is someone creepy sitting next to me.

The last section of this book is so beautiful that I had to read it aloud. I forgot what a wonderful experience it is to
In the foreword Oliver writes, "I would rather write poems than prose..." I would rather READ poems than prose. Yet Oliver's prose always seems more like a pleasant conversation than anything else. This book is just that- a wonderful conversation with the author; and the poems interspersed are so enjoyable to "stumble" upon after reading the prose.
Of all the books that I read and review, I approach Mary Oliver's with the most humility and respect. I feel that there are no words to express the beauty and spirituality of her writing. All of Oliver's books have the ability to transport and transform. Her intimate connection with the immediate natural world around her resonates strongly with me. As I sat reading in my bed at night, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings took me back to a childhood of being outdoors on an island in Michigan. Her ...more
Lauren Davis
Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets, indeed, one of my favorite writers. Her curious, sharp intellect, her love-affair with the natural world and her devotion, combine to create unforgettable, breathtaking works.

This collection of essays, is both more and less than that. There are essays, yes, but also poems. Her prose is as lucid and luminous as her poetry. In the first two sections of this collection she writes of tides and grasses, of herons and plovers and small white dogs, of kelp and t
Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. This is a slender book, too slender, in my opinion, because I could drink her words every day of my life and still thirst for more. I read half of it in one sitting (one lying-down, if I'm going to be accurate) and in that brief span, I wept three separate times. What kind of writer is this? If I were a seventy year old lesbian, I would go and find her and try to make her fall in love with me so that I could live in her cottage by the sea and converse wit ...more
I very much enjoyed “Long Life,” a compilation of (poetic) essays by Mary Oliver. Of particular interest, the great (poetic) essays about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne caught my attention. These texts were informative and intriguing enough to make me consider checking out some of these authors’ books from the library, since I am not familiar with 19th century American literature aside from Edgar Alan Poe.

I liked two poems from Mary Oliver’s book “Long Life”: the poem about the aut

This collection of 14 short essays, 10 poems and some other writings makes me wish that Mary Oliver (wonderful poet that she is) would write more prose. Insightful, rich in detail, and celebratory, her essays address nature, landscape, Emerson, Hawthorne, the disappearance of the town dump, life and writing in wonderful sentences.

"Poe claimed he could hear the night darkness as it poured, in the evening, into the world. I remember this now and think, reversing the hour but not the idea, that I
Like a gentle warning, one we will not heed, Mary Oliver states in her foreword that she prefers writing poetry to prose, but each has its own pleasures and manner of expression - "different paces of heartbeat." Anyone who has dabbled in both types of word-art knows how true this is; and we are grateful that Oliver is willing to adjust her heart rhythm so that our appreciative hearts may beat a little differently, too.

"Long Life: Essays and Other Writings" is a slim collection of prose and thos
Gwyneth Stewart
I love this collection of mostly essays, and a some poems, by Mary Oliver. She covers topics ranging from what it means to be in relationship with someone very different from you, the pluses and minuses of habit, and what it takes to develop an intimate relationship with the landscape within which you live. Throughout it all, what it comes down to for her is paying attention to the details, the little things that happen every day that most people don't notice. And deciding, simply, every day, to ...more
Karissa Knox Sorrell
Typical Mary Oliver: beautiful, lush, simple. This book is a collection of essays and poems about living. A must-read for any Mary Oliver fan.
I was lead to this book by two people. Singer/songwriter Drew Nelson talked about her poetry as being most influential on his song writing, and shortly after he told me that, my goodreads friend, Karen Cruze, gave this book 5 stars. Thanks!

I loved it and found it very thought-provoking. I have two favorite parts: the last paragraph of the essay "Flow," and the whole Ralph Waldo Emerson essay. Both contain inspiring ideas that I needed to be reminded of. Also great are the essay on dogs, and the
I was disappointed at the inclusion of the introductions written for Modern Library Classics books...Oliver writes better prose than that which is akin to her poetry...
I love Mary Oliver, but I just love reading her poems more.
"Poets must read and study, but also they must learn to tilt and whisper, shout, or dance, each in his or her own way, or we might just as well copy the old books. But, no, that would never do, for always the new self swimming around in the old world feels itself uniquely verbal. And that is just the point: how the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That's the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. 'Here you are, alive. Would ...more
Victoria Slotto
This is one of those books I turn to for inspiration. It will remain active on my Kindle for those moments when I need a little jump start in my own writing. It's a peek into Oliver's beautiful mind with entries ranging from poetry, narrative poetry, analyses of other writers, reflections, snapshots of her's like a sacred book that followers open at random to be inspired. Especially recommended for poets, writers and those who can't get enough of Mary Oliver.
Mary Oliver is, perhaps, best known for her poetry, and this book is mostly essays. But, I prefer essay form, so this book really suited me. Oliver reflects on the natural world in a way that often turns the universal from the ordinary. Two essays here cover great writers: Emerson and Hawthorne, and she has some wonderful pieces devoted to her dogs. A fine, varied collection that I found quite inspirational; I plan on giving the book to good friend who is also a writer.
Ranae Lemcke
I'm not usually one for poetry but this is a great place to start.
I am reading this for my book group - which always makes me stretch in terms of my choices. Mary Oliver is a close observer of nature and is a poet. Neither very comfortable for me but I am working on it. Here is a sample of her thoughts that I like very much:"What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life I should live?"
Perhaps I've been reading too much of Oliver lately, because it is becoming difficult to distinguish each piece. The book is, as usual, beautiful and contemplative. I had my gasping moments too, when reading the poem about summer break. She finds ways to so perfectly describe complex feelings. I didn't find her prose as interesting, but I like the way she sections her work into variations on a theme.
Maughn Gregory
"What does it mean, say the words, that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?" (9)

This book contains Oliver's most direct statements about the relationship between the practice of paying close attention to wilderness and the virtuous, joyful life.
SO good. Mary Oliver's writing just absolutely slays me.
My favorite pieces were on the role of habit in our lives, Emerson, Hawthorne and dogs. I can only read so much about the natural world before my eyes start to glaze over, but that's my issue, not Mary's. Nice collection of prose and poetry.
Charming. I actually like Mary Oliver's essays more than her poetry, so this was a good match for me. My favorite essay is the one about her dogs... I think she and Temple Grandin would have a lot to talk about.
Michelle Wegner
what words could describe poetry and prose that still the heart and lift the spirit like Mary Olivers? reading this collection was like finding treasure to keep you never knew existed. true beauty.
Elisa Bratcher
Of course, Oliver is a stellar essayist. While it was different for me at first to here her voice in prose, I was thrilled to get a more complete since of her way of thinking and seeing.
There were some very well written parts of this book, some poems and paragraphs of essays. But some essays were kind of long and didn't quite fit in with the rest of the book.
Sally Brock
Mary Oliver's prose is every bit as beautiful as her poetry. Her work provides me with such inspiration to live in and embrace the details of everyday life.
Thoughtful, inspired and inspiring pieces from Mary Oliver, meditating on writing, belonging, how we care for and live in the world.
"Writing is only writing. The accomplishments of courage and tenderness are not to be measured by paragraphs." - from "Sand Dabs, Eight"
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

“Mary Oliver. In a region that has produced most of the nation's poet laureates, it is risky to single out one fragile 71-year-old bard of Provincetown. But Mary Oliver, who won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1983, is my choice for her joyous, accessible, intimate observati
More about Mary Oliver...
New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1 A Thousand Mornings Why I Wake Early American Primitive Thirst

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“You too can be carved anew by the details of your devotion.” 7 likes
“This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings or even midnight. Each has its portion of the spectacular. But dawn — dawn is a gift. Much is revealed about a person about his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of day. No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it, could be a stranger to me.” 3 likes
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