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Evidence: Poems

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,023 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
Never afraid to shed the pretense of academic poetry, never shy of letting the power of an image lie in unadorned language, Mary Oliver offers us poems of arresting beauty that reflect on the power of love and the great gifts of the natural world. Inspired by the familiar lines from William Wordsworth, “To me the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do often ...more
Hardcover, 88 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Sandy
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Years ago I asked a student in an undergraduate poetry class if she liked Mary Oliver's work.

"She the lady who write about bears and otters and her dog?" my asked.

"Her," I said.

"Nah. Don't really like her," she replied.

This is possible? I asked myself. It is possible. How? I wondered.

Don't know.

More recently a friend said of Mary Oliver "you love her or you hate her."

How? I wondered.

I have just read Evidence, and I have an answer.

It's not possible.

Oliver is honest, real, tangible. She is taking
...more
David Johnson
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"Keep room in your heart for the unimaginable."
Liam
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I imagined the book arriving in the mail Friday, and then reading it on Saturday. Well, when I biked home Thursday by 6:10 p.m. I found 2 boxes from Amazon at my door. I got in, doffed my gear and drank some water. I opened the boxes. The second housed Individuation in Fairy Tales, so excited to read it this weekend. The first held Mary Oliver's Evidence. I walked to the frig. Poured a glass of Chenin Blanc Vionigeir and started reading randomly. I cooked some pasta laced with cheese and herbs, ...more
Amey
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astoni
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is my first experience with Mary Oliver, and it's love love love love love.
I want to devour the pages and thus incorporate her work into the soup of my cells.
Trish
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I discuss the poetry of Mary Oliver here.
Margie Dorn
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
You can never go wrong with Mary Oliver. A couple of the poems in this collection brought me to tears. In depth, she matches Rumi and e. e. cummings, but of course, her fans already know that. Thank God for poets of the past and of the present.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read2011
Mary Oliver reminds me of the cards at Hallmark that are labeled "simply stated" - she doesn't apologize for not saying more than needs to be said, meaning some poems are 3 lines at most. Simplicity should not be confused for nothingness, because she is remarkably eloquent.

For instance, "We Shake with Joy":

We shake with joy, we shake with grief.
What a time they have, these two
housed as they are in the same body.


My favorite of this volume is "To Begin With, the Sweet Grass," a poem in multiple nu
...more
Karen
Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Karen by: George Edensword-Breck
I still feel unbearable shame when I think that on my visit to Bennington, not yet 18, I sat in on Mary Oliver's class and got into an argument with her about whether there are any worthwhile women poets. I said: no. I didn't know anything about poetry or anything else, and she is Mary Oliver, the sweetest, wisest woman and an incredible poet. Her poetry punctuated my life-planning retreat at Earth Sanctuary with my sister this weekend, and I wish I could apologize to her personally for being an ...more
Monte
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2009
I think that you understand a poet through their words. I offer the following words

A couple of quotes-
from Li Po and the Moon
There is the story of the old Chinese poet:
at night in his boat he went drinking and dreaming
and singing
then drowned as he reached for the moon's reflection.
Well, probably each of us, at some time, has been
as desperate.
Not the moon, though.

Landscape in Winter
Upon the snow that says nothing,
that is endlessly brilliant,
there is something
heaped, dark and motionless.
Then com
...more
Bodhidasa
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Such a delicate, tender and deep evocation of a life lived with meaning.

This is one from the collection.

Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
...more
Leslie
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, first-reads
Goodreads gave me this wonderful hardback edition of Mary Oliver's poems and I'm glad. I am enjoying them so much. She writes about nature, but not about nature as just nature, more as a way to write about life. If the poem was just about a tree or a plant or a bird, I would probably find it boring, but the poems by Oliver are never "just" about anything, they are more about everything. I love the one she wrote about hating adjectives and so many others. I am reading a few of these each day and ...more
Z
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Mary Oliver shares an intimate conversation with her reader - each poem giving a glimpse of her joy and wonder at the natural world. Her poems are uplifting and refreshing. She paints a picture with words that catch one moment in time. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
Take time to pause and breathe in moments of clear, profound purity of thought with each of these poems from Mary Oliver.
Lorna
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: nature lovers, poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry
I received this book as a winner of one of the contests from goodreads. I really enjoy Mary Oliver's poems. I like that she writes about what she sees in her world right outside her home. My favorites are Moon and Water, Schubert, Just Rain, Empty Branch in the Orchard and the title poem Evidence.
T.Kay Browning
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm hoping this is the start of a Mary Oliver phase, as the digital public library has a solid collection. Apparently she is the unofficial poet laureate of the UU church, although she is not a member herself.
Samantha
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Anyway, Mary Oliver 4 ever.
Kristina
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but not as much as some of her others. I loved only a handful of the poems.
Kendra Fiddler
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
So beautiful.
Emily
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009
I surprise myself by connecting so readily with the works of Mary Oliver: I, who spent an entire college course on the Romantics digging myself out from under ruined cottages and Aeolian harps. Yet, by and large, I do connect. Oliver is a "nature poet" in the sense that she places great value on details of the physical world, on taking the time to notice and prize elements of existence often considered small or insignificant. She argues with great passion that these details are actually of great ...more
Kristin
"I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed...keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable...tear the sand away and listen. The river is singing." - Evidence

"Sometimes the river murmurs. Sometimes it raves." - At the River Clarion

Sweet Mary, take me home. In my mind, there is no greater contemporary American poet - or poet, period - than Mary Oliver. Her prose is equal parts breathtaking and heartbreaking. In just a few wo
...more
Rob
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the poems in this book.

Mary Oliver has a way of seeing nature and sharing her experiences that is near mysitical,
a way that make me pause in my reading to partake (or observe) a moment of stillness.

I know I will come back to this book of poems frequently.
Sara Patterson
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is not another author that can move me like Mary Oliver. Through the course of the last decade she has changed my life.
Linda
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mary Oliver, I feel you wrote these poems to me, and I thank you.
Jay Daze
The strong poems are very strong but others felt a bit too on the nose to be effective. Love her way with language and will read more of her work.
Jenny
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Impossible not to love living in Oliver's language.
Rogene Carter
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Beautifully simple and wise.
D
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful poet / beautiful poems.

Evidence: Poems
by Mary Oliver
We create ourselves by our choices. - Kierkegaard

Swans

They appeared over the dunes,
they skimmed the trees
and hurried on

to the sea
or some lonely pond
or wherever it is
that swans go,

urgent, immaculate,
the heat of their eyes
staring down
and then away,

the thick spans
of their wings
as bright as snow,
their shoulder-power

echoing
inside my own body.
How could I help but adore them?
How could I help but wish

that one of them might drop
...more
A~lotus
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Recommended to A~lotus by: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
DEEP SUMMER:
The mockingbird
Opens his throat
Among the thorns
For his own reasons

But doesn’t mind
If we pause
To listen
And learn something

For ourselves;
He doesn’t stop,
He nods
His gray head

With the frightfully bright eyes
He flirts
His supple tail,
He says:

Listen, if you would listen.
There’s no end
To good talk
To passion songs,

To the melodies
That say
This branch,
This tree is mine,

To the wholesome
Happiness
Of being alive
On a patch

Of this green earth
In the deep
pleasures of summer.
What a bird!

Your clocks,
...more
Richelle Wilson
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Evidence is the second Mary Oliver volume I've read cover-to-cover this month. I enjoyed the tenor and thematic arc of this collection much more than I did Blue Iris. The poems are all new and have great topical range—everything from birds to hearts, moons and flowers, trees and faith, music and Mexico—yet they all work harmoniously together. After I finished reading, I discovered that the collection was inspired by my favorite excerpt from Wordsworth: "To me the meanest flower that blows can gi ...more
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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
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“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”
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“Love yourself. Then forget it.
Then, love the world.”
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