Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Thousand Mornings” as Want to Read:
A Thousand Mornings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Thousand Mornings

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  15,966 ratings  ·  1,466 reviews
Grca badge winner
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, 82 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Penguin Press
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 A Thousand Mornings, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Courtney The book jacket lists U.S. $24.95.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,966 ratings  ·  1,466 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Thousand Mornings
Liam Malone
Oct 11, 2012 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
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-star-reads
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
Ammara Abid
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Beautiful title,
Dreamy cover,
The book is good too but it didn't touch the strings of my heart.

Anyways few lines from the book,


I tell you that ant is very alive!

Look at how he fusses at being stepped on.


As long as you’re dancing, you can

break the rules.

Sometimes breaking the rules is just

extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
For me her best work was presented in her book, America Primitive, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. I have loved her ever since, and have read a few of her other books, reviewing them on here. But this book was a disappointment, perhaps it was just that the subject matter didn't interest me.

Here is a small sample of a ypoem that I liked most in this book:

When I lived under the black
I felt I was made of leaves.
When I lived by the Little Sister
I dreamed I was the feather of
the blue
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, nonfiction
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
A Thousand Mornings

All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for the redbird to sing.


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 s
Florence Millo
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I grieve for all the years I did not know Mary Oliver's poetry. ...more
Mar 17, 2013 rated it did not like it

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
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, reviews, 5-star
This is a very thoughtful collection of poetry reflecting on the natural world. I whiled away a very pleasant and meditative afternoon in my garden with this volume, and it was quite the loveliest experience.
I haven’t had the best luck with Oliver’s later collections. You still get some nice nature imagery, but more often it’ll be slightly twee lines about cats and dogs instead (“Do cats pray, while they sleep / half-asleep in the sun?” from “I Happened to Be Standing” and “when he lay down to enter sleep he did not argue / about whether or not God made him” from “For I Will Consider My Dog Percy”). The thoughts about life are not quite as profound as they think they are. Still, she’s very readable, ...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
May 13, 2013 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 -

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?
I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.
Actually, I probably think too much.
Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,
is tending his children, the roses.

قشنگ بود. حتی حس بعضی شعرها فوق العاده بود، اما در کل نه. اونقدر قشنگ نبود که حس کنم دارم با قلبم
Morgan Long
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mary Oliver's poetry speaks to my being. Honestly, I've never related to something so to my core as I do to her poems. Am I making any sense? I'll leave some of my favorite poems here from this collection to speak for me:

"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 shallowing I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

My thoughts:
I am
Oct 29, 2012 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?

Emma Scott
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say much more, except that it all happened in silence and peaceful simplicity, and something that felt like the bliss of a certainty and a life lived in accordance with that certainty. I must remember this...

I ordered this because many writers I admire mourned this poet’s recent passing. I read it in the space of what felt like a few minutes. It felt as if Isabel were speaking to me through these poems, especially given that the prevalent theme is of our connectedness to each other and
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite collections by Mary Oliver. I discuss this and other works here. ...more
Amy (libraryofamy)
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is what I expect and like modern poetry to be!

This collection felt purposeful. I loved how the poems were all related to nature, it gave each poem its own atmosphere and it was quite magical.

I'll definitely have to continue to revisit this collection and tease out the meaning and hidden messages of each poem when I have more time to do so. I haven't felt the need to do that with any modern poetry, but A Thousand Mornings is more complex and nuanced than most modern poetry I've read. The fa
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
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. ...more
H.A. Leuschel
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
ad 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.'
Jan 13, 2013 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
Nov 25, 2012 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
Emm - "That Book You Like is Coming Back in Style"
"Oh the house of denial has thick walls and very small windows, and whoever lives there, little by little, will turn to stone."

A Thousand Mornings - as sweet, as gentle as the rustle of lavender in a spring's breeze, arm in arm with nature and its delicacy fine as webs.

Reminiscent and nature-inspired poetry can be a hit-or-miss game for me. They can be the opening of an emotional drain, or they can be the brew of sappy cliché in place of any real feeling.
Oliver's work leans toward the former, th
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this slim collection of poems, many of which reminded me of something, or awakened something in me, it's as if they don't just exist on their own merit, but are pathways of invitation.

Just the title A Thousand Mornings tells me how many many mornings Mary Oliver has passed in taking walks in nature observing creatures large and small, her shortest poem two lines about an ant; of watching the tides, there are at least three poems about the sea, the one mentioned on the back cover of the b
Oct 30, 2012 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 13, 2013 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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2013, poetry
I love the many facets of Mary Oliver's work. This volume is very much her backyard of birds and water and wind, and her quietness and thoughtfulness puts me into a different place as a reader. There is some of the same aged reflection that I keep seeing in poets I love, but it is more subtle, only in the service of the natural beauty she describes.

Some favorites: Today
On Traveling to Beautiful Places
The Man Who Has Many Answers

Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
“[They say trying to count all the leaves of a tree is foolish.] But it’s not. Of course I have to give up, but by then I’m half crazy with the wonder of it—the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.”

According to Goodreads, two stars means "it was okay." And really, this was okay.

I'll admit I had higher hopes, the cover is absolutely stunning, t
Amanda Linsmeier
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, honest, and inquisitive collection of poetry. I love how Mary Oliver entwines nature, animals, philosophy, and emotions.

For I Will Consider My Dog Percy made me cry. Other favorites were Life Story, Tides, and 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.

One of my favorite poets,
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, poetry, 2020
“have I endured loneliness with grace?”

nature poetry has never been my thing but we love and respect madam oliver
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bright Dead Things
  • Crush
  • The Wild Iris
  • Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
  • Faithful and Virtuous Night
  • The Peace of Wild Things: And Other Poems
  • Dearly
  • Night Sky with Exit Wounds
  • 100 Selected Poems
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho
  • Letters to a Young Poet
  • Averno
  • Home Body
  • The Complete Poems
  • Anecdotal Evidence
  • Red Stilts
  • The Essential Rumi
  • Life on Mars
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

“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 observations of the na

News & Interviews

  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
16 likes · 5 comments
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…