Blue Iris: Poems and Essays
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blue Iris: Poems and Essays

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A rich collection of ten poems, two essays, and two dozen of Mary Oliver's classic works on flowers, trees, and plants of all sorts, elegantly illustrated, Blue Iris is the essential companion to Owls and Other Fantasies, one of the best-selling volumes of poetry of 2003 and a Book Sense 76 selection.
Paperback, 73 pages
Published October 15th 2006 by Beacon Press (first published 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blue Iris, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blue Iris

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 470)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Crystal
I just read this book in one sitting on this delicious Friday evening as the sun sat outside the window. For me, this was an evening of pure bliss. This volume from Oliver's work compiles several of her poems and a few essays that focus on the beauty and wonder of the natural world particularly flowers, trees and plants. One of my all-time favorite poems “Peonies” is contained in this volume. You can read this poem at the Writer’s Almanac. Just click on this link:http://writersalmanac.publicradi...more
Richelle Wilson
First things first, I adore Mary Oliver. Second things second, I'm kind of ambivalent about this particular volume. As I was reading, I couldn't help but feel a combination of over- and underwhelmed at the fact that poem after poem was flowers, flowers, flowers, flowers. (In fact, the last line of one of the poems is actually: Roses, roses, roses, roses.) I get it, MO, you love flowers and so do I and please don't ever stop writing about them. But the collection seemed almost... gimmicky. I feel...more
Roger DeBlanck
Mary Oliver’s unadorned style of free verse flows with an easy accessibility, yet her work resonates with abundant wisdom and shrewd observations. In this volume, her primary focus is on the stunning beauty and wonder of the natural world. She expresses awestruck thrill at herself being a presence in harmony with nature, whether it be praising a bird’s lovely song or admiring the permanence of a seemingly ageless tree. Her poems make you feel reassured that life can forever attain fulfillment if...more
Florence Millo
I have never been a poetry fan. Never could get it. But I was introduced recently to Mary Oliver and it is love at first poem. Can't wait to check out another book of her poetry from the library and savor my way through it!
Shannon
Blue Iris is a collection of poems and essays by Mary Oliver. While I am largely a joyous reader of novels, I thoroughly enjoyed these poems. All of them share a common theme of nature and Oliver's descriptions are beautiful, evocative and (at times) transcendent.

Unlike a novel, which I dive deeply into, coming up only for necessities like air and nourishment, I read Blue Iris quietly, slowly and in small bites. Often I only read one or two poems in a sitting, so that I could let Oliver's words...more
Heather Mize
Not my favorite collection of hers. 2.5
Bethany
This was a lovely compilation. I thoroughly enjoyed the thematic focus on flowers. Perhaps my favorite poem in the collection was "Lilies" which brought to the forefront the difficulty Oliver attempts to transcend: self-awareness separates us from nature even as it allows us to appreciate it. Oliver manages to be a sympathetic presence in the natural world and translates that sympathy she feels through words crafted and fed by her "attention [which] is the beginning of devotion."
Jess
Jun 02, 2010 Jess rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Though I adore Mary Oliver, I found this volume less enjoyable. I think usually I find some sort of meaning about life or the world to extrapolate out of her poetry; this time, I felt like it was plant-centric. While that's nice, it didn't keep me focused like her other poems have done.
Zbeth
This woman write so beautifully I am not usually a reader of poetry Liking prose more. But my friend Megan introduced me to The works of Mary Oliver and I cannot stop collecting her books. I have been transformed by every one. I only wish I could write like her.
Patricia
Mary Oliver's poems about trees and flowers are the nearest thing to a good walk outdoors.

from "Goldenrod"
"All day
on their airy backbones
they toss in the wind,
they bend as though it was natural and godly to bend,
they rise in a stiff sweetness …"
Dayna Smith
The queen of nature poetry! A wonderful collection of Oliver's nature poems and essays. Much more accessible than Whitman, this book is a great way to introduce younger readers to great poetry that is descriptive and captivating.
Kathleen
I fall more and more in love with Mary Oliver every time I read one of her books. This one I had to email some poems to friends, because I was having too many thoughts and emotions to handle them on my own. Amazing, beautiful book.
Shannon
This book is the reason I am a poet and a reader of poetry today. I picked it up on a whim at the tender age of 15 and I have been in love with Oliver ever since. Still one of my prized possessions today!
Kerfe
She hears and sees the music in words and the world. Opens the reader to the world. Includes us in the world.

"Everything is in it. But no single part can be separated from another."

A treasure.
Eveline Chao
In theory the thought of a bunch of poems about flowers is cliched and overdone & banal, but this collection was really lovely and I like it a lot.
Mara
Feb 01, 2010 Mara added it
Favorite line: "Loss is the great lesson."

Uplifting poems inspired by nature. I especially loved Poppies" and "Roses, Late Summer."
Audrey
Apr 17, 2013 Audrey marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
I just finished this beautiful little book of poems and essays which prove that a poem can seem very simple without being simple at all.
Booker
Mary Oliver is one of my three favorite living poets. This may be my favorite collection of hers. Every poem was absolutely stunning.
Chiuho
I really enjoy Mary Oliver's poems. She has very sensitive observation about herself, life, and all beings around her.
Deb Vanasse
We've had a cold spring this year in Alaska, but Mary Oliver's poetry makes me feel like spring all year round.
Stan
easy to read in short sections, a poem at a time, as needed. nature focused of poems gathered from previous collections
Kristina
The poems in this book are good. But not as gripping or thought provoking as her selected works volume two.
Eliza T. Williamson
In this collection Oliver explores plants and flowers--all in her accessible, connected and respectful way.
Trista
Jul 18, 2011 Trista added it
Shelves: poetry
I'd like to draw this: "What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?"
Natalie
-Not my favorite of Mary Oliver's, but still well worth the while. I like the essays she includes.
Grace
just found this pulitzer prize winning poet and i will read more of her work it is gorgeous
Janey
2.75

Quite straightforward, but failed to leave me with a very strong impression at all.
Lauren
As usual, Mary Oliver lifts my spirits and removes me from everyday trivial dramas.
Teresa
I checked out every Mary Oliver book in the library. I still want more.
Roxanne
Sep 14, 2007 Roxanne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who thinks she might hate poetry.
I'm doing an accidental re-read, but I don't mind. I love this collection.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Migration: New and Selected Poems
  • White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006
  • Behind My Eyes [With CD]
  • Otherwise: New & Selected Poems
  • Braided Creek
  • Questions About Angels
  • The Gold Cell (Knopf Poetry Series)
  • Delights & Shadows
  • Bicycles
  • A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far
  • Given Sugar, Given Salt
  • Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons
  • Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie
  • Selected Poems
  • Fuel
  • The Wild Iris
  • Different Hours
  • The Moon Is Always Female: Poems
23988
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
More about Mary Oliver...
New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1 A Thousand Mornings American Primitive Why I Wake Early Thirst

Share This Book

“And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money, I don't even want to come in out of the rain.” 36 likes
More quotes…