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Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

4.61  ·  Rating details ·  3,684 ratings  ·  454 reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver presents a personal selection of her best work in this definitive collection spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career.


Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all
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Hardcover, 456 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 4.61  · 
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Laysee
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
Sep 8, 2019

From New and Selected Poems: Volume Two (2005) by Mary Oliver

It has been six months since I last read Mary Oliver’s poems. This past week as the weight of work bore down on me, I sought refuge in her verse, and read a couple each evening.

In an extraction of eleven poems from her collection of new poems from 2005, Oliver bade us pay attention to the natural world in every season. As she contemplated her role as a poet, she took inspiration from the ease with which nature eloquently de
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Jeannie
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful collection of poetry from Mary Oliver. I finished it with a tear in my eye knowing there won't be anything more from her. She just passed away this year. There is something about her poetry that is comforting to me. I'm sorry she is gone.

It was very hard to pick a favorite poem from this book because there are so many I loved.
This one is still one of my favorites.

What Gorgeous Thing

I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
b
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Margene
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mary is one of my constant companions. This book is one I will be reading today, tomorrow, the next day, the next year, and the next, because I will read it for the rest of my life. Thank you, Mary for giving my love of life and nature voice.
⋟Kimari⋞
I pre-ordered Devotions without looking at the description, because Mary Oliver! I didn't realize it's a collection of previously published work. I own all of her ebooks, so much of the content isn't new to me. It is very nice to have selected poems from books not available as ebooks and those that are out of print: What Do We Know, The Leaf And The Cloud, White Pine, American Primitive, Twelve Moons, The River Styx, Ohio, and No Voyage.

For those with a Mary Oliver collection, here's what's inc
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Libby
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, love, nature
I am aware of the criticisms of Mary Oliver’s work. She wrote about perhaps uncool things like God and the natural world and has been called “earnest” amongst other patronizing things. I believe that the critics are missing the core of her work which comes from an embodied sense of the ecstatic connection to all things. That we are not indeed truly separate but appear so in manifest form. This is not a cerebral concept, it is a felt sense in the body and Oliver’s poetry is drenched in this but w ...more
John
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
With Mary Oliver's recent passing, I wanted to read her selected poems in order to see why she was so popular and also to find enjoyment in them as well. My first advice for this book and other selected or collected poems of poets is to read them starting with the early books and moving forward from there. You will see how the poet develops.

I cannot give these poems any accolades for their craft or uniqueness. They reminded me of the old Swanson TV dinners in foil trays: uniformly prepared and o
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Pau
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
attention is the beginning of devotion attention is the beginning of devotion!!!!!!!!
Ali Nuri
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
description

Devotions provides a fitting culmination of her life philosophy, her core tenets bound together in one vulnerable place. Ultimately, her work divulges with astute observation the crux of what we are: at once human and animal, at once selfish and full of gratitude, at once perfect and profoundly flawed. The paradoxical balancing act between shameless desire and overwhelming selflessness is deftly traversed through her lush turns of phrase:

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how st
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Martha
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mary Oliver Speaks to Me

Her solo is a spare song,
Sung in that way of pure unaccompanied human voice
That is raw honesty.

I love how the first note of each poem
Pierces the white page,
And humbles me with Love
Of this world
That only moments before
I had forgotten.

Backwards through a life of figuring out
With words....

Sing on beautiful bird!
And thank you
For letting me live in your world for a few hours,
All I need
And my reading glasses.
Cheryl
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Uff da. I should just own all of Oliver's smaller books... this is heavy as being so many pages and so encompassing. But thanks to a generous library I'm simply renewing it over & over and I will finish soon!

It's very interesting in that it works backwards in time. The first poems are the very most accessible, as she's honed her craft and focused on her theme. Even those readers who are just barely ready for more than Shel Silverstein can enjoy these. Later in the book, as we approach her at a y
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Elizabeth☮
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recent-reads
I did it! I completed the collection. The poems are listed in reverse order with the most recent poems first and the earliest poems last. This is an interesting way to take in the work of Mary Oliver. The poems are all related to nature in some manner, but I feel the earlier poems are more abstract.

I’m so glad I bought myself this book. I have so many lines underlined. I loved it.
lizzie
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Perhaps the most peaceful thing I have ever read.
Annie Monson
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, poetry
These poems feel like exhaling, when you didn’t realize you were holding your breath.
Harry Allagree
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This lovely book of poems spans 52 years, from 1963-2015. I have a number of "favorite" poets, among them T. S. Eliot, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson. But as I've come to read more of her work over the past 15 years, Mary Oliver has indeed captured my heart. As I read this book, it occurred to me that though her fundamental stance on life & the world has remained essentially the same, her way of expressing that reality has matured, grown in simplicity but also in perception & depth of meaning. ...more
oumaima
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tender
this held a lot of poems i am familiar with as it is a selection from previous publications, but reading them again with the eyes of someone who has now been sitting with mary oliver a few hours a week was an enitrely new experience. felt something in me swell and grow as i read "the dream of my life/is to lie down by a slow river/and stare at the light in the trees/to learn something from being nothing"
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mary Oliver's poems are always gorgeous -- her nature imagery and ability to call out the small, exquisite moments from the wilderness is perfect. I wish, though, that the collection had been put in chronological order instead of reverse chronological -- I would have rather enjoyed seeing how her work evolved as I dipped in and out of the collection.
julieta
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I feel totally connected with Mary Olivers images;
nature, trees, insects, spirituality, joy.
Just wonderful and enlightening.
Robyn
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
A wonderful collection - absolutely beautiful from start to finish.
c.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
what else is there but to close yet another book of mary oliver's poetry, lie down in bed, and stare at the ceiling
David J
Review to come.
ria
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"
autumn
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
no words!!!!! beautiful beautiful beautiful. i really liked the way it was ordered reverse chronologically (most recent poems first, first poems last) - it was so interesting to see how her voice changed over the years. highly recommended
♠ TABI ♠
Oct 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
a very nice elderly man just told me "you need to read Mary Oliver, even if you don't read poetry; her books are for everyone" and since I am never one to turn aside a well-meant book rec, I shall try this one day
Gaby
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the most beautiful and perfect collection i have read. keeping it forever.
J & J
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Mary Oliver
joel melton
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
she was way overdue so we had to part before i was through.
but i love the 2/3 we spent together.
she has a superpower of magnifying the minute.
and daring you to do the same.
Jeanne
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't like all poetry, but some poets have language with great mouth feel or accessible metaphors that help me see the world in a new way, making me smile, laugh, cry, or think. Those poets make me love poetry and feel that I can get it.

Mary Oliver is one of those poets.
Excerpted from That Pretty Little Beast
That pretty little beast, a poem,
has a mind of its own.
Sometimes I want it to crave apples
but it wants red meat.
Sometimes I want to walk peacefully
on the shore
and it wants to take of
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Fern Adams
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I could only take one book to a desert island with me, this would be it! A book of poetry filled with so much joy for life, living and nature but makes you think and reflect too. We’re so often caught up in things that we miss what is right in front of us and Oliver gives the perfect reminder of that and what really matters. I feel now more than ever we need books like this one with everything that is going on. When the world is overwhelming and there is so much information to digest, so much ...more
Karen
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: immanuel-b-c
4.5 stars rounded up.

I’ve never had much use for poetry. Every few years I’ll dutifully pick up some lofty tomb & give it a whirl out of some vestigial sense of literal arts obligation. I never get much out of it and usually grow to outright resent it part way through. That Mary Oliver, though, amIright?! Sheer bliss through simplicity, no dark meanings tucked away in damnable grecian urns. Finally, a poet whose sense, sensibilities, and subject matter clicks with my brain.
...more
Kathryn
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2019
This book was abundantly full of poetry from over the years of Mary Oliver's writing. Her thoughts are clear and natural although with some I struggled clearly understanding what was being said. Poetry is something I do not have much background in and I feel Mary Oliver's poems are the perfect place to begin.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add original date published 3 12 Oct 25, 2017 11:20PM  

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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 na
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