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Wild Geese

4.61  ·  Rating details ·  500 ratings  ·  28 reviews
An anthology, this book's title poem, Wild Geese, opened Staying Alive. ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 28th 2004 by Bloodaxe Books
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Average rating 4.61  · 
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May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book. With fresh sparse prose and unerring insight, Mary Oliver’s writing conveys the sort of connection with nature that Wordsworth writes about experiencing as a child – except with Oliver the feeling stays with her always. She writes with a haunting brilliance…

The face of a moose is as sad
As the face of Jesus


….the sea
Which was slashing along as usual,
Shouting and hissing
Toward the future


…..the hummingbird comes
like a small green angel, to soak
his dark to
Myrna Minkoff
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite contemporary poet. "Wild geese, harsh and exciting..." ...more
Siobhán Mc Laughlin
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Bible of the beautiful. This collection of poems will make you fall in love with the world,as simple (and as staggering) as that.

Acclaimed American poet Mary Oliver has written here a tour-de-force of tender praise for the flora and fauna around us. Every poem sings with the soul of someone who not only believes in beauty, but pursues it within everything and everywhere with a startling intensity. The world glitters and shines in her poetry. Awe, realisation and appreciation of the world we l
Mattea Gernentz
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been through so many emotions this week, and it feels like Mary Oliver has walked through each one alongside me. A simply beautiful collection on so many levels. I took this text to a bench by the sea to begin reading, opened it up to "Staying Alive," and felt as if she had peered into my soul. One of her parting admonitions: "You must not ever stop being whimsical" (15).

Also, this is the cutest image and no one can dissuade me:
"had anyone / a piano small enough I think the toad could learn
seren✨ starrybooker
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
There should be a word for the particular kind of sadness you feel when, a week after reading what you know will become your favourite poem, you find out the woman who wrote it just died.

I’ve never been a massive fan of traditional nature poetry (sorry Wordsworth), being more of a here’s-my-bleeding-heart-on-a-plate-poetry kind of girl. Mary Oliver, though, is the exception to my rule. I just, I don’t know how to describe her writing in a way that would do it justice. Her poetry isn’t complex b
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am very very grateful. I am blessed to live in a world that Mary Oliver wrote about so beautifully. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with you one wild and precious life?" ...more
Amelia Bujar
Mar 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022, 5-star-books

The writing style was amazing it really sucked me into it and this happens really rarely especially with poems. And the old English really also set the mood for the poem which I also loved.

The plot in this one was good and it sort of reminded me of Jordan Peterson which im a huge fan of. And because of that I giving this poem extra points for.
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
There's one poem in this book that I come back to, called Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard.

His beak could open a bottle,
And his eyes - when he lifts their soft lids -
Go on reading something
Just beyond your shoulder -
Blake, maybe,
Or the Book of Revelation
Never mind that he is only a memo
from the offices of fear -
It's not size but surge that tells us
When we're in touch with something real

The best of Mary Oliver is that kind of imaginative, instinctive response to the natural world. It in
Gemma Innes
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Feels really nice to finish my first poetry book of the year. Will take a few weeks to get a more in depth review up on my blog. For now let me say that Mary Oliver is fast becoming a favourite poet of mine. Her world view is refreshingly in depth yet humble and resonates somewhat with my own. I enjoy the flow and structure of her work and hope to read more in the future.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best things I have read in my life!
Apr 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
"Once I saw a fox, in an acre of cranberries, leaping and pouncing, leaping and pouncing, leaping and falling back, its forelegs merrily slapping the air as it tried to tap a yellow butterfly with its thin black forefeet, the butterfly fluttering just out of reach all across the deep green gloss and push of the sweet-smelling bog."

"You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life."

"And now my old dog is dead, and another I had afte
Savannah Condon
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Wild Geese is like going for a long philosophical nature walk while you are curled up by the fire. Mary Oliver forces you to ponder the small and big questions life offers. She makes you stop and carefully examine the snail you passed on your walk, she makes you want to lay in a field and let the flowers grow over you for an afternoon. I will continue to come back to this book
Christine Dolan
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Very rarely do I read a whole anthology of poems from beginning to end, but Wild Geese is an exception. I love Mary Oliver, but, like all poets, I usually find that in her her books, some poems appeal to me and others not quite so much.
But reading these poems by this wonderful lady during this rather dreary winter has been a real treat. I read every poem two or three times in order to savour the language properly, and each poem drew me on to the next through its glorious descriptions and celebra
May 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is such a lovely collection of poems, all centring around the nature the author bursts with adoration for. There’s a lot of simple wisdom in these pages, and as the first poetry I’ve read in some time is was blissful diving into the pages
Morgan Rowe
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Mary Oliver is perfect, as always. Her poetry is some of the most earthly, joyful, intimate, and comforting work in the entire world.
May 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful poem
Younes El Yadari
Jan 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wild Geese is a kind of poem that has the potential to raise the dead and make plants grow even on Mars.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I didn't like all of these poems but the ones I did I really loved, so beautiful beyond words. ...more
Dec 19, 2020 added it
“sometimes in late summer I won’t touch anything, not
the flowers, not the blackberries
brimming in the thickets; I won’t drink
from the pond; I won’t name the birds or the trees;
I won’t whisper my own name.

one morning the fox came down the hill, glittering and confident,
and didn’t see me - and I thought:

so this is the world.
I’m not in it.
it is beautiful.”
Sometimes when I was about to read a little bit of this I didn't think I was in the right mental space for it but almost all of those times Mary coaxed me in and then I read much more than a little bit. I love how she writes, I love how her words are sparse and lush at the same time. Amazing writer. Her poetry makes me feel centred and happy and safe. ...more
Priya Bhakta
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, nature
Gorgeous poems about the natural world and what it means to us. A book which leaves you feeling so optimistic.
Molly Miltenberger
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
A compilation of previous works. Good stuff, although the pieces chosen were not my favorites.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lovely, lovely poetry...
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really connected with this author's poetry - mainly about the natural world and our place within it. Poems to really savour and enjoy - excellent. ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I discovered Mary Oliver. How come I never knew read her work before now? It's simple, yet beautiful. ...more
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Mary Jane Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is inspired by nature, rather than the human world, stemming from her lifelong passion for solitary walks in the wild.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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“You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” 1354 likes
“I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.” 360 likes
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