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White Pine: Poems and Prose Poems

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  639 ratings  ·  63 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 In this much-awaited collection of forty poems - eighteen previously unpublished - she writes of the silky bonds between every person and the natural world, of the delight of writing, of the value of silence.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 ...more
Hardcover, 55 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Houghton Mifflin
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Cheryl
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Plenty of interesting bits. But so much more 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
...more
Meredith
May 05, 2019 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.

Something touched me, lightly, like a knife-blade. I felt I was bleeding, though just a little, a hint. Inside I flared hot, then cold. I thought of you. Whom I love, madly.


from the poem, March

A few excerpts:

(view spoiler)
...more
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
...more
Isaiah Vianese
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Classic mid-career Oliver--full of warmth, optimism, and celebration of the natural world. Though not the greatest book in her catalogue, it's a consistent, comforting read.
Matt
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mary Oliver is something more than just a poet; perhaps poet/shaman may be a more apt description. Each poem in this astonishing collection casts a spell. The book is a web of magic, but it is not the work of a magician. Mary Oliver writes only pure, beautiful truth, here handing the reader the world in fifty-five pages. It is not necessary that the reader know this is not an easy thing to do. It is enough to quietly gasp at the simple grandeur of each poem.
Darrin
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
...more
Eric
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent. A second reading may bring it to five stars.

Some favorite excerpts:

From In Blackwater Woods:

8. The Garden

What I want to know, please, is
what is possible, and what is not.
If it is not, then I am for it.
My heart is out of its flesh-phase.
I am done with all of it, the habits, the patience.
Whoever I was, it is growing hazy and forgettable.

Whoever I am, it is for mere appearance's sake.
It is for coin, and foolishness,
and I am thinking of something better.
All morning it has been raining.
In
...more
Paul
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
...more
Liz
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?"

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

Sarah
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. ...more
Maya Lukasik
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't typically read much poetry; it isn't really up my alley. However, we're in our poetry unit in our creative writing class, and I thought it'd be interesting to read a book by one of the most critically acclaimed poets in the world. I tried to delve into the book without any expectations - my half-disinterest in poetry might balance out Oliver's fantastic reputation - and ended up being exceedingly impressed.

Oliver manages to capture the incredible beauty of the natural world in such a
...more
Brandon
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In so many of Mary Oliver’s poems the human element is nothing more than the poet’s perception of natural phenomena. The moods are lonely.

But “lonely” isn’t quite accurate because in her interactions with the natural world, Oliver frequently comes up close to death, which gives her poems a mystic quality, and mysticism tries to come as close as possible to something sensed, tries to connect.

The title poem “White Pine” feels dense in its mysticism. “White Pine” brings the natural world of
...more
Courtney LeBlanc
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Mary Oliver focuses on nature, and both the speaker and the reader's connection to it in her Pulitzer Prize winning collection, White Pine. There is a quietness about this collection that gently pulls the reader into it and holds them there.

My favorite poem was March, which almost feels like the outlier in the collection, for it it's explicitly about nature. Instead it focuses on love starting with: "There isn't anything in this world but mad love. Not in this / world. No tame love, calm love,
...more
Bobby
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.
Zach
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."
Olivia
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Oliver's work has rejuvenated my love, admiration, and interest in poetry.

While all of the poems in this collection spoke to me in some way, it was the following lines in "Fletcher Oak" that moved me the most.

"I don’t know if I will ever write another poem. I don’t know
if I am going to live for a long time yet, or even for a while.

But I am going to spend my life wisely. I’m going to be happy,
and frivolous, and useful."
John
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Despite being slimmer than most volumes and the prose poems begin creeping in, there are so many awe-inducing bits full of death and wonder. The centerpiece, In Blackwater Woods, would be a devastating thing to read at a funeral. That was a recurring observation: this would kill at a funeral. But In Blackwater Woods takes no prisoners.
Hayley
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like the poem about the fish - described as a silver pin - "At the Lake."
And "June, "the one about the bird chasing a feather.
And "Porcupine."
And "Mockingbirds" about taking time to listen, regardless 'Wherever it was / I was supposed to be / this morning - / whatever it was I said/ I would be doing' (Oliver 16).
Daniel and Rebekah Eikum
“All morning it has been raining.
In the language of the garden, this is happiness.
The tissues perk and shine.
Truly this is the poem worth keeping.”

“Each moment has been so slow and so full
And so drenched in sweetness and my life
Has gone by so fast”

Good poems for reading out loud on a walk in the woods with Simon while he hefts along broken branches.
Lani M
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am almost certain that only Mary Oliver's poems that could make us feel like we're strolling around in the park, lost in woods, sitting peacefully while listening to ocean wave, and all those kinds of things. I agree with her that the most important thing is paying attention, and that would be our endless work. Let's do it slowly and not in haste.
Andrea Engle
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2019
Another slim volume of exquisite nature poetry from the pen of Mary Oliver ... this one features deer, mockingbirds, a blue heron, snails, and a whole host of other creatures marvelously observed and meditated upon ... another treasure for the busy city-dweller ...
Autumn
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.
K.K.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-book-log
"There isn't anything in the 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?"
Paul
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.
Suri
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"After excitement we are so restful. When the thumb of fear lifts, we are so alive." Reading Mary Oliver always makes me feel a bit like someone's dropped me into the woods and then gone digging in my soul.
Leonard
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fine selection of poems by Oliver.
Annalise
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Favorite Poems:
Morning Glories
September
The Hottest Day
I Found a Dead Fox
Fletcher Oak
Fall
Early morning, New Hampshire
Spiders
Wings
Mai
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How did I not discover the magic of Mary Oliver until people started posting some of her poems after she died. She is magical. I particularly adore 'Stories'.
Maughn Gregory
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary Oliver teaches us not only how rare and how precious it is to be in the way of learning something revelatory from the natural world, but the kind of love and attention it takes to be in the way.
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“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
...more
“...And then the stars stepped forth
and help up their appointed fires-
that hot, hard
watchman of the night.”
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