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New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2

4.59 of 5 stars 4.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,509 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape-

New and Selected Poems, Volume Two, an anthology of forty-two new poems-an entire volume in itself-and sixty-nine poems hand-picked by Mary Oliver from six of her last eight books, is a major addition to a career in poetry that has spanned nearly five decades. Now recognized as an
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published (first published 1992)
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Sep 07, 2010 Caris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't have the time to lay in the grass and stare at the blades
Shelves: 2010, poetry
When I was in high school, I was forced against my will to read Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled.” I thought the poem was absurd. Well, perhaps it wasn’t the poem I objected to. After all, I hated everything I was assigned to read in high school, probably because of the implications of what would happen if I didn’t: no college, no escape from Bumfuck, AZ. The incentive to read the required texts was great, but the desire was minimal. My teacher saw something profound in Frost’s poem. As it happen ...more
Right in the middle of her mostly human-less poems, there's one that says that if only Donald Rumsfeld would crawl out of the President's armpit and play with her little dog, he would be, for a moment, a rational man. I laughed out loud. An insult a career in the making. Black bears, lilies, wild geese, ants, fields, rivers, trees, and Donald Rumsfeld in the President's armpit. Thank you for all that you do, Mary Oliver.
This volume of poetry is supremely accessible. While it would be exhausting and difficult to read straight through a volume by most poets, I glided from cover to cover of this book in less than two hours. Oliver is so gentle and transparent with her readers, whom she directly addresses with great frequency, that it feels as if she is holding your hand on a guided tour (with dogs) through a country side full of singing birds and (somehow not depressingly) animal carcasses.

Since a search for meani
I love this woman -- the way she thinks, the way she sees the world. The way she teaches us to be attentive: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”


“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”

~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2
I have been trying to find a poet I like, and Mary Oliver is probably one of my current favorites. This collection is beautiful in all senses the word can be used; I normally find nature poems and stories hard to get into, but Oliver uses nature and living creatures to illuminate the self (or the "soul"). When I read her poems, I feel as if I am finally seeing the things that are important: the world around us as it is, words that are used to create something beautiful, and who I am, and could b ...more
Nancy McKinley
Excellent. Fresh, Earthy and whimsical are the words I'd use to describe Mary Oliver's work. I delighted in her words and her slant on life, especially the natural one. I will seek out more of her books in the future.
These are poems that you thought were impossible until you read them. Mary Oliver takes poetry back to its simple original purpose: to celebrate. I am skeptical of nature poetry normally. It seems so "wishy-washy." But this stuff is sturdy, it makes you feel alive, it talks about the world how it really is and it made me remember real-life beauty.

I mean, I think if you wanted to define "beauty" to somebody who never heard of it, one of these poems would be the thing to give them.
Seamus Heany once signed a book of poems for Angela and he talked about how poems we enjoy give us back what was ours (they reminds us previous experiences we've had in our life). This book of poems does this also; it takes you back to experiences especially of the outdoors & wildlife. This was Angela's intent when she bought this book of poems for me to read. I am very grateful.
New and Selected Poems Vol. 2 by Mary Oliver: You get a lot of bang for your buck here, but I prefer getting the books of hers I love and skipping the ones I don’t. Her books tend to have strong themes that get lost in a greatest hits collection. That said I like this better than the first volume of selected poems. Excerpt (I like how she says “a right answer,” rather than “the right answer”): “Have I not thought, for years, what it would be/ worthy to do, and then gone off, barefoot and with a ...more
This collection is one I return to again and again. Even though Mary Oliver has published a lot since this book, and much of it has been very good, none of it has surpassed this one. Everything is new and surprising.
I shouldn't need reminding, but I do. And Oliver does just that: She reminds me why the world needs poetry

Just last week, The Porch Hags Society held its first meeting. PHS is a group of ladies with a fond appreciation for writing poetry. We sat and read work we've already written and did exercises and themes to work off of while in each others' presence. I found it extremely liberating and tried to pin down exactly what style I was going for having never written much poetry in the past. And I noticed that as spring and summer loomed that a love for nature entwined with the city shone through my wo
A fine collection. I would have enjoyed taking it up into the mountains or reading it from a canoe, book in one hand, sandwich in the other. Not every poem spoke to me, and I found some lines downright distracting. For instance, in an otherwise delightful poem about bees, the speaker remarks "I think there isn't anything in this world I don't / admire. If there is, I don't know what it is. I / haven't me it yet. Nor expect to. . . ." blah.

She expertly strikes a balance between offering witness t
Ed Howe
Mary Oliver is quintessential. Transcendental. It is no wonder she is the Pulitzer prize winner for poetry. She can show you through her words. She is technically perfect with her poetry. When she talks of crickets and dogs and birds and ponds and lakes and forests and trees, you almost forget and think she is actually talking about those things. But when we settle back down to the page, we realize all of those things house the reality of another world. A world we are so close to we can't even s ...more
I am amazed by my hate for her poetry!

"They blew in the wind, softly, this way, that way. They were not disappointed when they saw the scissors, rather they brace themselves sweetly and shone with willingness. They were on tall and tender poles, with wheels of leaves. They were soft as the ears of kittens. They felt warm in recognition of the summer day. A dozen was plenty. I held them in my arms. They were silent the way the deepest water is silent. If they wondered where they were goin
Christopher Sumpter
Oliver has an artful way of looking at the beauties of nature (as well as its ugliness). Her poetry is verse so free as to be almost prose, but she does a masterful job of weaving observations of the creation into the development of personal philosophies. Once or twice she strays into politics and loses some of her transcendence, but generally she stays close to the soil. My greater concern was that her paeans of praise are almost exclusively for the creation, seldom its Creator. Perhaps I read ...more
Curt Reynolds
A nice collection of her poems, but I liked Vol 1 better
I adore Oliver's connection to nature. A sample from page 32:

Of What Surrounds Me

Whatever it is I am saying, I always
need a leaf or a flower, if not an
entire field. As for sky, I am so wildly
in love with each day's inventions, cool blue
or cat gray or full
of the ships of clouds, I simply can't
say whatever it is I am saying without
at least one skyful. That leaves water, a
creek or a well, river or ocean, it has to be
there. For the heart to be there. For the pen
to be poised. For the idea to com
Something here for everyone.
David Ryan
Very much enjoying the Poetry of Mary Oliver. This was my second volume to read. She encourages us to listen, to be attentive to the things of nature beside us. Also great insight to being mindful of many things.
Timothy Browning
It is simply disgusting that anyone can write this well.
Gregory Levine
Mary Oliver writes poems primarily about the beauty of nature. She has a way of conveying how nature feels to the spirit, as well as the wisdom and way of the world. Her poems use nature to describe a whole range of things from death to joy, in a way that is simple and true. Sometimes her use of words is so astounding that it's a revelation in itself, and other times, her analogies have a childlike directness. I enjoyed this collection.
Elissa Bratcher
Mary Oliver is simply stellar. Her eye, her wit, her perception intertwined with nature is a marvel, and a blessing.

Nothing can start a day more peaceful, more thankful, than a cup of coffee and words by Mary Oliver.

Well maybe one thing. Rising with the sun and opening my door and walking outside into nature and observing, as she does, the greatest gift that we usually ignore in our haste, hurry, and laziness.
Poetry is really hard for me. I've written one pretty good one, I think, and I grew up with Robert Frost, but generally I don't get enough information with poetry for me to enjoy it. Until I ran across Mary Oliver. Her poems are amazing........ images I can totally relate to - totally transcended into thought and ponderings/revelations about things that really matter. Have you read her, Laura?
I haven't read Mary Oliver since college. If it is possible, rereading it now was even better. I think she needs to take up permanent space on my nightstand!
I've discovered that I like Mary Oliver's early poems, but I love her poetry 2000 to the present. Whether it's the song of a bird, a dead fox, a sky full of stars, or the scent of a flowering plant, all her subject matter makes you think twice and delve a little deeper. By far this is the best book I read all year and I can't wait to read it again.
I love Mary Oliver's writing. This is my first time reading her work, and I just love the way her words flow so beautifully. Mostly all of her poems have to do with nature. They make me want to spend my afternoons outside just enjoying nature! Her descriptions are that refreshing and inspiring.
I will most definitely be reading more by Mary Oliver.
My favorite poem of hers is found in this book entitled "Why I wake Early." When I have my own classroom next year (crossing fingers) I will open everyday by saying this poem. It talks about how she is thankful for the sun and how everyday she wakes up hopeful and happy. Wouldnt you want to here this at the beginning of each day...I know I do.
Through this book, I have fallen in love with the poetry of Mary Oliver. A nature poet, Oliver has a tone and voice that both quiets and disquiets; both resonates and stills. She writes, "I tell you this/to break your heart,/by which I mean only/that it break open and never close again/to the rest of the world."
Just as lovely as Volume 1. A great poem has a way of seeing something in a brand new way that is somehow so obvious and true (Why didn't I ever think of this in that way?). Nearly every single poem is like this: true, beautiful, raw, refined. Such a gift to the entire world is Oliver's poetry.
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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 American Primitive Why I Wake Early Thirst

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“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”
The Poet With His Face In His Hands

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

So if you’re going to do it and can’t
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched

by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.”
More quotes…