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White Pine: Poems and Prose Poems

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  503 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Mary Oliver is one of the most popular and widely honored poets in the United States. In this much-awaited collection of forty poems - eighteen previously unpublished - she writes of the silky bonds between every person and the natural world, of the delight of writing, of the value of silence. Says James Dickey, "Mary Oliver works . . . a true spell, unlike any other poet' ...more
Hardcover, 55 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Houghton Mifflin
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Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Plenty of interesting bits. But so muchmore that I just don't get that I feel frustrated. It's me; it's not Oliver, but I still can't rate it as highly as I'm sure it deserves....

I recommend you check out *Beside the Waterfall* but bear in mind that the format/ shape doesn't reproduce well, so when you see it some blogs it's wrong. Nine verses, each line of each verse indented, so it's rhythmic pennants....

"In Pobiddy, Georgia" a very old woman at a cemetery needs help from her descendents when
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Mary Oliver has the ability to describe, in perhaps as little as one or two lines, some quality of the natural world that to me is only a fleeting feeling or mood when I am out in the countryside or in the forest. I am sometimes astonished at how she is able to put into words of either poetry or prose, what, to my mind, are ineffable qualities.

In the poem, Hummingbirds, for example, she describes the act of climbing a tree and realizing she has disturbed a hummingbird nest...

The female, and the
Miranda Hency
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, poetry
Woodsy and dreamy.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Another of Mary Oliver's collections that soars. She has the ability to compress into so few words what she notices about both the created world around us and the world of the heart that obviously overlaps with it. And her poems are a constant reminder to pay attention to life and those we love.
The swan, for all his pomp, his robes of glass and pteals, wants only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy rocks, are going
Regina Shelley
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
The first time I read a Mary Olive poem, someone had included At Blackwater Pond inside a card they sent me. I opened the card, read the poem, and was struck with such a profound, deep ringing of beauty and truth I instantly wept.

The husband does not get it. He's not much for being outside, either. I guess you either get it or you don't.

To me, Oliver's work is almost like Haiku, incredible truths distilled down into a sharp edge that cuts deep into your psyche. She is a naturalist, and observe
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
The best poem is William. And there are some wonderful lines.

"There isn't anything in this world but mad love. Not in this world. No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love. And of course, no reasonable love. Also there are 100 paths to the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?"

"I am going to spend my wife wisely. I'm going to be happy, and frivolous, and useful."

Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Mary Oliver sings to my soul. I love that her poetry is so simple, yet if I really sit with it, it brings on layers and layers of ideas.
Puri Kencana Putri
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"There isn't anything in this world but mad love. Not in this world. No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love. And, of course, no reasonable love. Also there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier? We dream of love, we moon about, thinking of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan, or the lost queen rushing away over the Irish sea, all doom and splendor. Today, on the beach, an old man was sitting in the sun. I called out to him, and he turned. Hi ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, animals
"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work."


"To rise like a slow and beautiful poem. To live a long time."


"Then it turned and vanished. In shyness, perhaps. Or simply / because we get no more than such dreamy chances to look / upon the real world. The great door opens a crack, a hint / of the truth is given—so bright it is almost a death, a joy we / can't bear—and then it is gone."
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The poetry of Mary Oliver is full of a deep appreciation for the natural world in which we live, but also full of appreciation of silence and of connection, connection of the natural world and our own place in it. This collection is no different and, like every single volume of Oliver's poetry, well worth the tiny bit of time it takes to escape to her world, the world we also inhabit though we are often unaware.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Mary Oliver book, I don't think I will ever get enough of her poetry. I do not thin this is my favorite collection of hers, but it is still wonderfully peaceful, just as all the others.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Constantly in awe of this poetess. She asks all the meaningful questions, and ties us to the natural world like no one else can. This might be favorite of the books. Only The Sea Mouse really knows. Highly recommended for those seeking introspection and solace. Mary delivers, every time.
Fred Slusher
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mary Oliver is almost inarguably our best living poet. She has a talent for restoring language to its natural kingdom, the wild environs of nature. She is at times one with nature and apart from it, cataloging the unclassifiable with language that is both revelatory and sublime. This collection is not to be missed.
Cynthia Egbert
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
It is always amazing to me how long it can take me to read a 55 page book when it contains the works of Mary Oliver. I just have to take small bites and savor each one. Below are the requisite bits that I feel I must share..."

"After excitement we are so restful. When the thumb of fear lifts, we are so alive." -From May-a prose offering.

"To pay attention, this is our endlessand proper work." -From the poem Yes! No!

"What a misery to be afraid of death.
What wretchedness, to believe only in what can
Mark Robison
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another Mary Oliver book I couldn't be without. It’s not among her very best, but it’s strong and marvelous and filled with awe at moments in nature, even the dark ones. She’s like a Zen poet crossed with Thoreau. Here’s one poem, where I’ve removed the line breaks: “I found a dead fox beside the gravel road, curled inside the big iron wheel of an old tractor that has been standing, for years, in the vines at the edge of the road. I don’t know what happened to it — when it came there or why it l ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Not Oliver's best. But, for me, Oliver is like Didion: I'll take "not-her-best" any day. And the book has moments, especially as it crescendoes (from pianissimo to piano) with its poignant, soft and somehow lovely imagery of bones and skulls and corpses. And the line "the refined anguish of language"? Chills. That and the image of a a deer with green leaves growing on its antlers. Haunting, haunting.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
White Pine is good, but I think it's one of her earlier collections; I don't think it's as good as Red Bird, and definitely not as good as A Thousand Mornings. This collection concentrates almost entirely on nature and the cycle of life and death, which are good subjects for poems, but not when it's every poem in the book. Still, there are some really beautiful poems in there, and it's worth a read.
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: openbook
I don't read much poetry; I think I got burnt out on the angst, common in much poetry, and intimidated that poetry was somehow beyond me. I do have to work, in the best sense of the word, to understand Mary Oliver; reading her work aloud provides an entirely different dimension. The poems "Grass", "Porcupine", & "March" could be daily meditations for me.
Emily Schmader
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed this collection of poems focusing on creation, the natural world, and changing seasons. Oliver perfectly blends words into stories, descriptions, and deeper meanings. I particularly enjoyed "Snails" and "December."
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I am in love with poetry again, and with Mary Oliver's poetry in particular. This is stuff that hits me where I live, in all the ways and all the places. So so wonderful.

Must read more more more Mary Oliver.
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Maybe there's something zen here I'm not getting.

Also, I know I picked up this book five or so years ago and thought, "I love this."

But a lot of these poems feel like filler to me.

These days I am hard to please, and annoy myself.
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I haven't found a single poem by Mary Oliver that doesn't speak to me in some manner. As with most of my poetry books, I will probably never "finish" this one. I keep pulling it out to read a while before bed time.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Not my favorite book of Oliver's poems though I do love the one called "March" which talks about "mad love". Selling this one back to the bookstore though. It seems to be filled with poems of anger and grief, though not directly...tat is the vibe.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, poetry
I really don't read very much poetry, but I ran across this book while I was shelving at the library. I thought I'd give it a try because many of the poems had to do with nature. I enjoyed reading this book while sitting outside. Quick read. Some of the poems were a bit bizaar.
Johanna Haas
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Man, how I love Mary Oliver. Her poems about nature always ring true to my lived experience. I want to reach in and touch the words, like I touch flowers when I go for a walk. (Except for the one about her bringing the dead fox home and cleaning its skeleton - no thanks.)
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
My english class has had me writing poetry more than I have in years. This book has lovely nature poems and make me miss the country terribly. Short and sweet read.
Aug 03, 2008 added it
i love her.
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I only read three or four before I put the book down. This is one of those authors that I will need my lifetime to digest. Lyrical right to the, and dipping a toe just past, the point of meta.
Stacy Barton
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
love her work
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Her work makes me, or the world, or both, seem new again.
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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.

“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
More about Mary Oliver