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New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  6,179 ratings  ·  264 reviews
Features previously published and new poems that explore the natural world and how it is connected to human beings and spirituality...Title: .New and Selected Poems..Author: .Oliver, Mary..Publisher: .Random House Inc..Publication Date: .2004/10/27..Number of Pages: .255..Binding Type: .HARDCOVER..Library of Congress: .bl2012029804
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 15th 2005 by Beacon Press (first published 1992)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Every poem in here is perfection, but my favorites are , of course, "Morning Poem" and "Wild Geese." Here's "Wild Geese":
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the de
I LOVE Mary Oliver and would recommend her poetry to anyone. One of the reasons I so love her work is that she is totally accessible. She doesn't write those things that are so obtuse that you are afraid to say, "What the hell is that about?" because everyone else is also afraid to say that and so they all act like it's just brilliant and so no one ever just says, "That makes no *&$%!*&! sense at all. It's horrible." And such is the world of art and poetry today.

Anyway, enough of my rant
Tom Shadyac
Mary Oliver is a national treasure. She is as close to a living, breathing, Ralph Waldo Emerson as we have today. And while her poetry explores the beauty of nature, Mary never forgets that we are nature, as well. Lessons learned from the grace of a swan, or the patience discerned in the face of a stone, bring us closer to the essential and therefore, bring us closer to ourselves. You can’t go wrong with any of her books. My introduction was a poem entitled, The Journey, and I quickly found myse ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
May 15, 2012 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" added it
Recommended to Jeanette by: Anne Lamott
Yesterday I gorged on my first feast of Mary Oliver's work, racing through three of her short books all in a day. I've started this one with determination to go a bit more slowly, but as I page through what is here, all I can think is oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! More, more, more, more, more!

June 20
I've finally finished. I took my time with this one, as it covers poetry from many stages of her life, going back to the 1960s. It's hard to assign a rating, but I can recommend it without reservation.
Geoffrey Gioja
Jun 26, 2009 Geoffrey Gioja rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves poetry and who can connect with the pre-postmodern sensibilities
Recommended to Geoffrey by: David Whyte
Shelves: mary-oliver, poetry
This was my first book of poetry by Mary Oliver - who has grown to be among my most very favorite poets. Some classics in this collection (most of which are from previously published collections going back to American Primitive) - and each of these has stood up to the test of multiple readings over decades of reading poetry - are:
• When Death Comes
• Rice
• Hummingbird Pauses at Trumpet Vine
• The Buddha's Last Instruction
• The Swan
• The Summer Day
• Maybe (perhaps my most favorite poem about Jesus
these are poems that teach us how to read (and write) poems. also how to be alive, pay attention, fall in love, find god. it goes in reverse chronological order, so we get to follow the truth as it wiggles all the way back into Oliver's earliest published poems, and waits to expand into every pore of her later work.
a brief list of words she uses in her poems that i want to use in my poems:

i read "in blackwater woo
Tylor Lovins
Wittgenstein once said "Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent." This as a logico-philosophical imperative was also an ethical imperative. This anthology is beautiful and insightful as Oliver is successful in expressing the inexpressible precisely because she does not try to do it. She simply describes life, and in her descriptions we begin to understand life in its competing contrasts and mixed signals. These, it turns out, are the things we fail to learn from, most times, and see b ...more
Cathy Larkin
Feb 07, 2008 Cathy Larkin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poets, poetry lovers, nature lovers
Recommended to Cathy by: John Larkin
My brother gave me this book, not knowing that I met Mary Oliver's poems many years before. Some of her poems build toward such a strong last line, that they are still with me today, many years later.

From "The Summer Day": "...Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

Although I reread her books periodically, when I come upon certain poems, it's like meeting an old friend with whom you can pick up the conversation again, seemingly right were you left off years befo
Oh I love Mary Oliver. She is fierce about nature and just when you think you cannot possibly read another poem about another meadow flower she throws one at ya like
"listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"
Brilliant I say.
And I love her attitude about life, you can either mope around in your life or you can go forth with the ferocity of all that is splendid and real!
for the right person, Oliver delivers an emotional and metaphoric experience that can bring comfort and challenge all at once.

i've used Oliver in my artwork for many years. i have not stopped loving her way of ending a piece with an aphoristic flourish - there is something sonnet-like about it that really works in a meditative/inspirational way. she IS accessible. that is the best of it - and it is also the definition of her limits, if limits are important.

any poem that begins "you do not have
"There is only one question: how to love this world," Mary Oliver writes in "Spring," one of the finest poems in this collection. The selections in this book try to find answers to that question, primarily in the natural world. These are poems about nature and wonder, love and death, egrets and humpback whales. They aren't difficult poems, but straightforward in their precise, well-crafted imagery. There is a beauty in their apparent simplicity, in the observations of a poet clearly in love with ...more
Shawn Sorensen
The precious poetry of Mary Oliver gets a long look in volume one of her selected poems. These are classic poems, but Oliver's work stands the test of time and stays fresh better than almost any other poet.

I thought it might have been better to be at a shorter length and go chronologically from her first poems to her later volumes, but I was pleasantly surprised at how more raw and opinionated her earlier works were. Reading those pieces at the end might be what I remember most from this.

From "Spring": "Somewhere/a black bear/has just risen from sleep/and is staring/down the mountain./All night/in the brisk and shallow restlessness/of early spring/I think of her/her four black fists/flicking gravel/her tongue/like a red fire/touching the grass/the cold water./There is only one question:/how to love this world."
Its been a long time since I read her last...yesterday my little sister asked me what "ineffable" means, and as I was explaining its meaning to her somewhere inside someplace a tiny voice kept insisting,just say "its rather like a Mary Oliver poem"...I do not feel like addressing her with a commonplace Miss Oliver...not when I know her like that and she me..Mary strips me of all my desperate strength, all the futile hard earned evolution and adornments I managed to soil myself with on the way, a ...more
What I love best about reading this particular volume, rather than the slim, paperback editions of Oliver's poems, are the nuggets of "the poet's life" that are interspersed throughout, as poems not included in other editions, or not included in quite the same way. Like "Going to Walden":

It isn't very far as highways lie.
I might be back by nightfall, having seen
The rough pines, and the stones, and the clear water.
Friends argue that I might be wiser for it.
They do not hear the far-off Yankee whis
Emily Dickenson said it best."If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way"

Mary Olivers' poetry continuously gives me chills and reminds me how amazing it is to be alive in this world. Could a writer ask for any better success than that?

I think her poetry is simple and approachable enough to convinc
I've been on a poetry kick lately. I would have told you 3 years ago that I don't get poetry, any poetry. But lately, I can't get enough. There are a few lines in some of these poems that knocked me out. Some of my favorites are The Summer Day, The Journey, Rage, A Visitor & In Blackwater Woods (which the quote below is taken from).

Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of
Mary Oliver's work has helped me endure many long nights of the soul. Like so many people, I was introduced to her poems by way of 'Wild Geese,' which would be a cliche except it's so damn beautiful you forget, re-reading it, that it pops up all over these days. Read 'In Blackwater Woods' or 'Dogfish,' out loud. Even if you don't like poetry. Trust me.

Her later work takes up some new subjects, most significantly, her long relationship with her partner Molly, Molly's death, and after. But while
The first thing I read from Oliver was her collection "Why I Wake Early," which definitely reverberated in me. I followed that up with Dog Songs, and Thirst, and Red Bird, House of Light, and American Primitive. Few of these were compiled into this collection of poems from 1992; perhaps that is why, though I enjoyed it, I am, on the whole, lukewarm about it.

Though Oliver likes to ponder things like the soul, the spirit, higher power, prayer--things from which I tend to shy away--she does so wit
Mary Oliver's Pulitzer-Prize winning poetry captures the remote sense of mystery and appreciation of the natural world characteristic of the Unitarian Universalist perspective. She is the rare poet who can use nature imagery to capture the raw pain and beauty of engaging fully in the moment - the perfection of the world, the fragility of life. "Yet under reason burns a brighter fire, which the bones have always preferred." - (from The Black Snake)
I don't know why I didn't know about Mary Oliver before now. Her poetry is the most amazing I have ever read. I found myself reading poems over and over and savoring them. A few even brought me to tears. I'm kind of obsessed with Oliver now, and plan to read everything I can get my hands on.
Dec 29, 2008 cindy is currently reading it
more like I'm reading it AGAIN. I enjoy the evolution of her writing, the steps toward the sparse beauty, and the almost total exclusion of people.. I love her work. What astounds me is how much she says about us, without invoking us at all. We are just animals, after all...
Gorgeous in so many ways, her writing takes my breath away in places. In other places, I wish she would venture out of the natural world a little to the places I inhabit. While I truly appreciate why she is loved by so many, her subject matter doesn't grab me most of the time.
Oliver follows in the footsteps of Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoraeu. She writes about nature using simple yet powerful images. She exposes the wonder of the natural world for us and invites us to explore it ourselves.
If I had to move and take only one book with me, just one, and not any other, this would be the choice. For many, many reasons, but none of them more important than just how beautiful and how many worlds this volume opens.
I finished this book of poetry over the Christmas holidays. How lovely. I want her poetry read at my funeral.
Looking forward to reading her new book, A Thousand Mornings, that I received for Christmas.
Lindsey Bressler
Some things in your life change you. I was changed by this volume of poetry. Mary Oliver expertly weaves nature and mortality. It's safe to say she's one of my new favorite poets. (Thanks, Mrs. Graves!)
My favorite poet by far but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone but hardcore fans. The book spans 30 years and goes backward chronologically from the 1992 to 1963. She simply became a better poet after this time frame. It’s all good but just good, and the early stuff shows her trying too hard and cluttering up the poems with poetic flourishes. Which isn’t to say there aren’t some awesome parts: “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder/ if I have made of my life something particular, and real./ I ...more
Poetry fans tune in--this woman is incredible. One reading of "The Journey" and I was hooked. Check it out.
A teacher, transcendent.
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  • Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1982
  • Delights & Shadows
  • Picnic, Lightning
  • Good Poems
  • The Dead and the Living
  • Otherwise: New & Selected Poems
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
  • The Dream of a Common Language
  • Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
  • Book of My Nights
  • The Wild Iris
  • View With a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems
  • Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation
  • House of Belonging
  • The Country Between Us
  • Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times
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...
A Thousand Mornings American Primitive Why I Wake Early Thirst A Poetry Handbook

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“to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
“When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

More quotes…