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New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  3,283 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Mary Oliver has been writing poetry for nearly five decades, and in that time she has become America's foremost poetic voice on our experience of the physical world. This collection presents forty-two new poems-an entire volume in itself-along with works chosen by Oliver from six of the books she has published since New and Selected Poems, Volume One. ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Beacon Press (first published 1992)
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Éimhear (A Little Haze)
This started out so strongly with the beautiful poem Everything. But from there I struggled with this collection. The style of writing is incredibly accessible and very beautiful... but the themes covered didn’t resonate with me. Just not my cup of tea it seems.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Right in the middle of her mostly human-less poems, there's one that says that if only Donald Rumsfeld would crawl out of the President's armpit and play with her little dog, he would be, for a moment, a rational man. I laughed out loud. An insult a career in the making. Black bears, lilies, wild geese, ants, fields, rivers, trees, and Donald Rumsfeld in the President's armpit. Thank you for all that you do, Mary Oliver. ...more
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This volume of poetry is supremely accessible. While it would be exhausting and difficult to read straight through a volume by most poets, I glided from cover to cover of this book in less than two hours. Oliver is so gentle and transparent with her readers, whom she directly addresses with great frequency, that it feels as if she is holding your hand on a guided tour (with dogs) through a country side full of singing birds and (somehow not depressingly) animal carcasses.

Since a search for meani
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love Mary Oliver’s poetry just like that of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

Oliver’s poetry isn’t for a sweet taste of natural beauty. No, that is a misconception. It is about love of life. It is meant to be be chewed, syllable by syllable. Read it if you don’t believe me.

I can’t distinguish between poems, just like one couldn’t distinguish between children, but since I posted this and it makes my point, here it is:
Jocelyn Chin
Apr 27, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night (p. 56)

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

Tell me you love me, he says.

Tell me again.

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask it.
I get to tell.

The Storm (p. 117)

Now through the white orchard my little dog
romps, breaking the new snow
with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
hardly able t
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this woman -- the way she thinks, the way she sees the world. The way she teaches us to be attentive: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”


“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”

~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Probably a 3.5 for me. Some of these poems were so so beautiful and life giving. They are like 95% about nature though and as a city girl at heart I couldn’t always relate. I also got a little bogged down by the end. Really appreciated how overall accessible these were though! I don’t know a lot about poetry but I was definitely able to appreciate these with just one or two reads.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finished this at 7 pm in a Panera on New Year's Eve and it's the best book of poetry I've ever read in my life (you may say, "Of course, it's Mary Oliver" and I say, "Okay, fair.") ...more
Katie Mercer
Oct 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fave
mary oliver makes my soul sing, always has. this collection of her works brings me to a range of different emotions, landscapes, and images. thinking about going on a poetry journey this month … stay tuned xx
Jan 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
I don’t know enough about poetry to feel like I can be a good reviewer. I only know what I tend to like and dislike and how things make me feel. I like Mary Oliver.
Hannah Jayne
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“One would say she was a simple woman, made happy by simple things. I think this was true. And more than once, in my long life, I have wished to be her.”
I love Mary Oliver's poetry more than any other poet or writer. She relays that the world can be hard, but it is still beautiful, and that life can be painful but still is an awesome privilege, and that the mystery of God remains a mystery. She does this by focusing on the minute details of Nature and animals.
Reading her poems, you will be aware of how much you are missing every day by not being present, as she was. (She knew Mindfulness before it was a thing.) Reading her poems, you will feel
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
These are poems that you thought were impossible until you read them. Mary Oliver takes poetry back to its simple original purpose: to celebrate. I am skeptical of nature poetry normally. It seems so "wishy-washy." But this stuff is sturdy, it makes you feel alive, it talks about the world how it really is and it made me remember real-life beauty.

I mean, I think if you wanted to define "beauty" to somebody who never heard of it, one of these poems would be the thing to give them.
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Be ignited, or be gone" (57).

A little one-note, typical Mary Oliver stuff, not more than a handful of new discoveries that wowed me. Still really nice, and the perfect book to take with you on a walk through the woods, a picnic in the park, or a hike up the mountain.
Mar 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022
This book of poetry was absolutely spectacular. I liked this volume better than volume 1.
Apr 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Every one a gem.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I usually don't love these sorts of long, "new and selected" collections, but when I heard that Mary Oliver died I thought about how many times I've thought "I should really read her" and never followed through. Besides 'Wild Geese' I had barely read any of her poems, and this was what the library had.

I am SO glad I picked it up. She is a very consistent poet, both in the quality and tone of her poems, and the way she connected to the natural world spoke so clearly to me. It was a joy to work t
Roger DeBlanck
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Mary Oliver is the astonished, celebratory observer of the natural world. Her poems take in every sight and sound, and she makes sure to absorb nature’s energy, allowing it to pull her into alignment with every bird and deer, every tree and flower, every breeze and rainfall. Her poems are like benedictions and prayers. She is generous in giving back to the world all the love, passion, and wonder it has produced in her. She immerses herself in opportunities to experience joy and know compassion. ...more
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, poetry
"But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain."

(What Is There Beyond Knowing)

This volume was not as good as the first one, but still very good. Mary Oliver's poems are inspired by nature. She writes about birds, dogs, trees, sometimes people or a certain sentiment, but somehow I could relate to almost all of them. Her poems are so positive, sometimes bitter-sweet, but th
Aug 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
I am amazed by my hate for her poetry!

"They blew in the wind, softly, this way, that way. They were not disappointed when they saw the scissors, rather they brace themselves sweetly and shone with willingness. They were on tall and tender poles, with wheels of leaves. They were soft as the ears of kittens. They felt warm in recognition of the summer day. A dozen was plenty. I held them in my arms. They were silent the way the deepest water is silent. If they wondered where they were goin
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I have been trying to find a poet I like, and Mary Oliver is probably one of my current favorites. This collection is beautiful in all senses the word can be used; I normally find nature poems and stories hard to get into, but Oliver uses nature and living creatures to illuminate the self (or the "soul"). When I read her poems, I feel as if I am finally seeing the things that are important: the world around us as it is, words that are used to create something beautiful, and who I am, and could b ...more
"And now I have finished my walk"
...through this beautiful, tender garten of poetry wonders! And every forest path I walk, whenever I see a heron or listen to a singing bird I get back to your natural kingdom, Mary, and there is nothing else to be done, no higher purpose or meaning to be found beyond the miraculous simplicity of our bare existence.

"And I am just standing, quietly, in the darkness, under the tree."
("White Pine", p. 175).
Stacey D.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I must admit -- I selected Mary Oliver's poetry collection only after spying the cover of the book. She looks so much like my mother; yet in spirit, the two could not be farther apart.

These poems slow down your heartbeat and make you take a good look at nature and beauty all around us.

As she says in her eloquent poem Mindful, "Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant -- but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab...".
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Seamus Heany once signed a book of poems for Angela and he talked about how poems we enjoy give us back what was ours (they reminds us previous experiences we've had in our life). This book of poems does this also; it takes you back to experiences especially of the outdoors & wildlife. This was Angela's intent when she bought this book of poems for me to read. I am very grateful. ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I adore Oliver, and this is the first time I've read a collection of her poetry, mostly one or two a night over a couple months. I love her imagery, her connection with nature, and her sheer joy and wonder at being alive. She asks haunting questions and leaves you to ponder the answers. A poem for every day, every season. ...more
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
This collection is one I return to again and again. Even though Mary Oliver has published a lot since this book, and much of it has been very good, none of it has surpassed this one. Everything is new and surprising.
Nancy McKinley
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent. Fresh, Earthy and whimsical are the words I'd use to describe Mary Oliver's work. I delighted in her words and her slant on life, especially the natural one. I will seek out more of her books in the future. ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, Mary Oliver never writes anything not worth reading. I love all of her work.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I shouldn't need reminding, but I do. And Oliver does just that: She reminds me why the world needs poetry ...more
Guinevere de la Mare
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I want to roll around in Mary Oliver's words like a dog in a meadow full of deer pee. Happy Poetry Month! ...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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“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”
The Poet With His Face In His Hands

You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn’t need anymore of that sound.

So if you’re going to do it and can’t
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched

by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.”
More quotes…