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A Thousand Mornings

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  5,670 Ratings  ·  580 Reviews
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In A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has come to define her life’s work, transporting us to the marshland and coastline of her beloved home, Provincetown, Massachusetts. In these pages, Oliver shares the wonder of dawn, the grace of animals, and the transformative power of attention. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her adored do ...more
Hardcover, 77 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Penguin Press
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Nov 02, 2012 Liam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I arose early on 10-11-12 to check the status of my Amazon package containing puer ginger tea and 3 poetry books including A Thousand Mornings. The tracking told me it have been delivered. I found the package on the porch.

I proceeded to make the tea and to sit down in my chair to read the entire volume.

Mary thankfully takes us back to all manner of nature and her dog Percy and the black snake and forest birds and the living ocean waves. All the while commenting on being alive and exuding gratit
Nov 30, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
I am so new to poetry.

It used to bother me that the "rules" of poetry were not clear. I didn't like puzzles that did not have answers and I don't have a literary decoder ring. I was never very good at memorizing passages (I can't even repeat a joke back to you in a way that keeps the funny). There were some other feeble excuses - most of which have absolutely nothing to do with poetry - but all that matters is that I kept on not reading poetry.

*Quite a few years back, I happened upon my first A
Sep 20, 2015 Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
Slim enough for me to read and review within an hour and a half, A Thousand Mornings will appeal to fans of poetry about nature. Mary Oliver intertwines themes of appreciating the present and her faith in God within her incisive observations about the environment. Her poetry conveys a wise and understated joy; though I tuned out while reading a few of her poems, others stood out with clear and artful messages. I will end this brief review with one of my favorite pieces, "I Go Down to the Shore": ...more

Apparently I am an insensitive, picky and mean person when it comes to contemporary poetry. I am somewhat sorry, because I would love to be able to appreciate it or at least to understand why other people love it so much. However, I seem incapable of wrapping my mind around it in the majority of the cases.
This one seemed completely uninspiring to me. Indeed, usually I favour simplicity in literature over complicated and long-winded sentences because I have the opinion that the truth is generall
May 14, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013, poetry
A lovely little collection of poetry centred around the power, peace and beauty of nature. Simple and peaceful observations, often with a little twist at the end, the poet's self-reflection. One of my favourites was "The Mockingbird," and I hope it is okay to quote it here:

The Mockingbird

All summer
the mockingbird
In his pearl-gray coat
and his white-windowed wings

from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing, but it's neither
lilting nor lovely,

for he is the their of other sounds -
Oct 29, 2012 Dianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful - I deliciously soaked up every word, over and over, on recent flights to and from Utah for hiking. Many many treasures here, but for me the best - and hardest - is 'The Gardener'. Really, I have to answer all the hardest questions of Life at one time? Working on that....


Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough, have I come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?

Florence Millo
Feb 01, 2014 Florence Millo rated it it was amazing
I grieve for all the years I did not know Mary Oliver's poetry.
Jan 13, 2013 Josh rated it it was amazing
For me, reading Mary Oliver is like meeting a rarely seen, but much-loved and admired friend; a conversation and a glimpse into their life feels like a gift, but leaves a surprisingly aching sense of loss. Her writing has consistently been self-reflective observances of and within nature, unexpectedly exposing our own poverty of a life without. In her world, she approaches life with a soft, and open inquisitiveness to the (mostly) silent earthly elders; the aging black oak, the sea (that speaks ...more
Yelda Basar Moers
Mary Oliver's collection of poems, A Thousand Mornings, published this fall, is a poignant meditation on nature and the self. It reminded me of the nature writings of Annie Dillard, the essays of Thoreau and Emerson, and the poems of Whitman and the Transcendentalists. Oliver could be an adopted poet of that movement.

The poems are almost naked, sometimes abrupt, but if nature could speak, this is what she could say. Oliver is certainly awed by her surroundings, the sea, animals and the spiritual
Dec 18, 2012 Adele rated it it was amazing
(A brief review I wrote for The Banner magazine)

For almost 50 years, American poet Mary Oliver has been celebrated for her graceful inquisitions into the rhythms of the natural world. Her latest collection, A Thousand Mornings, continues in this same tradition, inviting readers to explore the creatures and shorelines of her beloved home, Provincetown, Mass.

Longtime fans of Oliver’s work will recognize the same patient, lyrical pilgrim who is grateful to be alive, ready to be astonished, and “ful
Sep 14, 2013 Cherie rated it liked it
I read through all of the poems last evening but I think I was a little too tired to really take in and appreciate them. My favorite poem was Green, Green Is My Sister's House. It is about climbing a tree and potentially falling out of it. I especially liked the last lines

"if someday you can't find me you might
look into that tree or--of course
it's possible--under it"

I liked most of the poems in the book, but I need to read them over more than once to really get to know and feel them. I will k
Nov 25, 2012 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Easy to read and easy to love, Oliver's poetry is playful and refreshing. While some poems can be impersonal, or so personal they alienate nearly everyone, the poems in A Thousand Mornings are all about patience with and careful observation of the simple and unremarkable, and letting those simple but elusive truths reveal themselves. Oliver's A Thousand Mornings isn't a cerebral tangle of word play and symbolism, but a beautiful, seemingly effortless uncovering of the often overlooked and undera ...more
Ana Luisa
Feb 03, 2015 Ana Luisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who want to read more poetry
A Thousand Mornings is a stunning poetry book. It captures the essence of nature, animals, and the small moments in life and transforms that into beautiful and deep poems. Each text - short though they may be - carries a different atmosphere and I couldn't help but get sucked inside each one of them, as if every paragraph was a novel of its own.

I was surprised to have highlighted so many passages from this small compilation, especially considering I'm not a big poetry reader, so I can say witho
Kateri Ewing
Nov 26, 2012 Kateri Ewing rated it it was amazing
It is an event in my life, when a new Mary Oliver book is published. In the past so many years I have celebratd the arrivals of Evidence, Thirst, Swan, and Red Bird. I have purchased at least five copies of her New and Selected Poems becasue I can’t help but give them away when I meet someone who has never heard of her before. And each time I receive a new title it is my constant companion for weeks upon weeks. If you find it strange that a book of poems can be a companion, then you have not met ...more
Apr 25, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry

I read an entire book of poetry! I have not read poetry since I was in 8th grade and fell in love with Edna St Vincent Millay: "Renascence" and "My Candle Burns At Both Ends" and so many more. I have read a little Millay over the years, especially after reading a biography for Young Adults in 1997, Edna St Vincent Millay, America's Best Loved Poet by Toby Shafter and Nancy Milford's very adult and very wonderful Savage Beauty in 2002.

For the past few years I have rea
Dec 01, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it
I fell in love with Mary Oliver's fine, deep nature poems when I was in college. I can recite some of them ("August," "Singapore") from memory. As time passed, I began to drift away from her books, which are always well-written and life-affirming, but also always written alike. It's not necessarily a bad thing to find a voice and style and stick to it. I am pleased with Oliver's popularity among readers who are not necessarily poetry aficionados. After all, she is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Anyway ...more
Sep 13, 2013 Cathie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cathie by: Goodreads Choice Awards Book of the Month
This book is a lovely contemplative read. I can picture Mary Oliver, all in her 71 years of glory, climbing the tree to count the leaves she tells us of in the poem "Foolishness? No. It's Not.".

This book of poetry is a wonderful glimpse into the heart and thoughts of it's poetess. I will be picking up this book often, whenever I need a refreshing, quiet glimpse into the awe of life, thoughts on living or not thinking about living, or if I want to visit with the Fox again or remember Percy, Olive
Nov 26, 2012 Melody rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
Every Christmas season my book group has a poetry reading. So I, who am not a poetry reader by nature, scramble around to find that perfect, meaningful poem to read aloud. ( I DO love to read aloud). Mary Oliver's new book, A Thousand Mornings reminds us to not let a regular old day pass you by without noticing and being grateful for the wonder and the splendor. Today I am grateful that at least once a year I am "pressured" to expand my reading to include poetry.
Oct 24, 2012 Gloria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The book's description uses the words "transformative power of attention." Paying attention is something I've been working at, being still enough to notice. This is a thoughtful collection of simple prose that often has a tiny, thought-provoking line at the end of a poem. Mary Oliver is considered to be America's greatest poet, but the poems are so simple that this "title" seems deceiving. For those who aren't sure they like poetry, Mary Oliver is pleasing to read.
Sep 28, 2013 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I like Mary Oliver's earlier poetry a great deal, but this 2012 collection of poems seems to me like a casual jog through the poetry park. Though I will always like certain lines of Oliver's (she's never going to be bad, after all), I found most all of the poems in this book rather domesticated, unambitious, and even workshop-like at times, which is something I would not have expected from her. It's as if Oliver is attempting to allow the power of her elder self (her Mary Oliver-ness) carry the ...more
Jul 22, 2013 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"For a while I could not remember some word I was in need of, and I was bereaved and said: where are you, beloved friend?" One of the smallest poems I've ever read, titled "After I Fall Down the Stairs at the Golden Temple" and in Oliver's offerings from this tiny volume. Given that we're currently dealing with my grandmother's dementia and the fact that she continually forgets that my grandfather died in March, along with words and what was for lunch, this poem touched me in a very elemental wa ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have loved Mary Oliver's poetry ever since I was introduced to it by a dear friend about eight years ago. I was very excited to learn, last summer, that she would be publishing another volume this past fall. It was a lovely read, and I look forward to referencing it again and again.

These were my favorite poems: Foolishness? No, it's not; If I were; Poem of the one world; And Bob Dylan too; Hurricane; The mockingbird; An old story; and The man who has many answers.

Foolishness? No, it's not

Casee Marie
Sep 02, 2013 Casee Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites, 2013
Something about Mary Oliver’s latest collection of poems caught my attention when it was first published in October of 2012; maybe the premise of it, the fact that her poetry in A Thousand Mornings revolves around animals and nature, and her joyful interactions with both. Regardless, I saw it again some months ago at the library and started to read it while I lingered in front of its shelf; when I seemed perfectly content to stay there reading the entire collection, I figured it was definitely o ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Larraine rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually much of a poetry reader, but this slim and lovely volume was irresistible. I would call her poetry "accessible," a term that some artists dislike. I hope Ms. Oliver doesn't because that's what it is. I love her ode to her little dog Percy who apparently came to her after being abused, and did not live long. She describes, in one poem, Percy coming back. She reaches out to touch him, but she can't because he is like music. You can't touch that either. He tells her that eternity is ...more
David Alexander
Dec 10, 2013 David Alexander rated it really liked it
By Mary Oliver

One recognizes the child likeness of the author, with it's mentoring strength, right away. Mary Oliver, nice to meet you!
I decided to check her poetry out as she is a contributor to New Formalism and I am interested in getting a better experiential and conceptual grasp of this poetry movement. Not much rhyme scheme here, however. Maybe in her other phases. Not that she disappoints, though. She makes her indelible lines with conquering humility. There is humility in masters that acc
Susan Sink
Jan 12, 2013 Susan Sink rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Someone let me read her copy of this book over a weekend, and I was grateful for that. I thought about photocopying a few of the poems I loved instantly, but then went ahead and bought a copy. Hardcover. I almost never do that, but I'm trying to be better about supporting poets and books, and I know I'll return to this one again and again.

Mary Oliver's work feels so effortless and so hard won. It's a product of a life of writing and of living in contemplation of living things and life itself. T
Jan 27, 2016 Iphios rated it really liked it
Like all of her poetry, nature comes to life in this one. Oliver always succeeds in making me look at the world and see the beauty and the stories there is to see. Here though there is a feel of divinity - of the bigger one out there. Probably, this is due to rumi and oliver's close reading of him of recent. At times i feel there is some rilke in the poems from this collection. Questions posed are bigger and greater.
Sep 27, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it
I'm sure I read this too fast, and I might've found more going slowly. But I found quite a lot in this half hour to go back to. Favorites: "Foolishness? No, It's Not," "Out Of the Stump Rot, Something," "The Mockingbird," and especially, "Hurricane." The back of the hand to everything.

Also these lines, from "Lines Written In the Days of Growing Darkness":
So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets
Reid Kuennen
Sep 28, 2016 Reid Kuennen rated it really liked it
I could read Mary Oliver for a thousand mornings and then some. So calming. So grounding. I never connected to poetry until I found her. I love how she reminds me to never stop seeing and feeling nature. Even in the city, the grass is growing up between the cement.

Amy Kannel
Mar 02, 2016 Amy Kannel rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, own
I really can't describe this better than the flyleaf blurb: "Oliver shares the wonder of dawn, the grace of animals, and the transformative power of attention. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her adored dog, Percy, she is ever patient in her observations and open to the teachings contained in the smallest of moments."

Mary Oliver's poetry is accessible (i.e., even if you're not well-versed--no pun intended--in poetry, you can still understand and appreciate it) yet rich and lov
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Love, an Index
  • The Beauty: Poems
  • The Shadow of Sirius
  • Thrall
  • Horoscopes for the Dead
  • A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997
  • Goat In The Snow
  • Stag's Leap: Poems
  • A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics
  • Faithful and Virtuous Night
  • Transfer of Qualities
  • Almost Invisible: Poems
  • House of Belonging
  • Delights and Shadows
  • Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
  • Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Olivia)
  • Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys
  • Incarnadine: Poems
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...

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I Go Down To The Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”
“And now you'll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won't be false, and they won't be true
but they'll be real”
More quotes…