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New and Selected Poems, Volume One

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  9,518 ratings  ·  402 reviews
Features previously published and new poems that explore the natural world and how it is connected to human beings and spirituality.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Beacon Press (first published 1992)
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4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,518 ratings  ·  402 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
RIP, Mary Oliver, 1/17/19

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”
Debbie "DJ"
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, own
Fantastic! Oliver's poems always touch my heart, and this collection shares her best...especially "Wild Geese," and "The Journey."
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books, poetry
I'll admit it. I'm often intimidated by poetry. Many times I can't understand or find meaning in poems I've read.

I was familiar with some of Mary Oliver's most well-known poems, such as "The Summer Day", "Wild Geese", and "Why I Wake Early", but wouldn't have read this entire book if it wasn't for a challenge for National Poetry month.

I'm very glad that I took the time to go through this book poem by poem. While there were a few that left me scratching my head, on the whole Oliver's poems are ap
Oct 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE Mary Oliver and would recommend her poetry to anyone. One of the reasons I so love her work is that she is totally accessible. She doesn't write those things that are so obtuse that you are afraid to say, "What the hell is that about?" because everyone else is also afraid to say that and so they all act like it's just brilliant and so no one ever just says, "That makes no *&$%!*&! sense at all. It's horrible." And such is the world of art and poetry today.

Anyway, enough of my rant
Tom Shadyac
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Mary Oliver is a national treasure. She is as close to a living, breathing, Ralph Waldo Emerson as we have today. And while her poetry explores the beauty of nature, Mary never forgets that we are nature, as well. Lessons learned from the grace of a swan, or the patience discerned in the face of a stone, bring us closer to the essential and therefore, bring us closer to ourselves. You can’t go wrong with any of her books. My introduction was a poem entitled, The Journey, and I quickly found myse ...more
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
these are poems that teach us how to read (and write) poems. also how to be alive, pay attention, fall in love, find god. it goes in reverse chronological order, so we get to follow the truth as it wiggles all the way back into Oliver's earliest published poems, and waits to expand into every pore of her later work.
a brief list of words she uses in her poems that i want to use in my poems:

i read "in blackwater woo
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
May 14, 2012 added it
Recommended to Jeanette by: Anne Lamott
Yesterday I gorged on my first feast of Mary Oliver's work, racing through three of her short books all in a day. I've started this one with determination to go a bit more slowly, but as I page through what is here, all I can think is oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! More, more, more, more, more!

June 20
I've finally finished. I took my time with this one, as it covers poetry from many stages of her life, going back to the 1960s. It's hard to assign a rating, but I can recommend it without reservation.
Tylor Lovins
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wittgenstein once said "Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent." As a logico-philosophical imperative, this is also an ethical imperative. Oliver's anthology is beautiful and insightful as she is successful in expressing the inexpressible precisely because she does not try to do it. She simply describes life, and in her descriptions we begin to understand life in its competing contrasts and depths. These, it turns out, are the things we fail to learn from, and to see beauty in its na ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just came across Mary Oliver by chance and so glad i did.
Her poetry really bringing you immediately into beauty of nature
and takes you away from the rush of modern life.
Kind of like mindfulness makes you pause and realise what really matters.

Finished this book but of course will continually re-read these great poems.

Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Oh I love Mary Oliver. She is fierce about nature and just when you think you cannot possibly read another poem about another meadow flower she throws one at ya like
"listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"
Brilliant I say.
And I love her attitude about life, you can either mope around in your life or you can go forth with the ferocity of all that is splendid and real!
Good poetry collection.

Tended towards the nature poetry a bit much for my taste, but these are the collected poems so these are kind of like the greatest hits.

Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Its been a long time since I read her last...yesterday my little sister asked me what "ineffable" means, and as I was explaining its meaning to her somewhere inside someplace a tiny voice kept insisting,just say "its rather like a Mary Oliver poem"...I do not feel like addressing her with a commonplace Miss Oliver...not when I know her like that and she me..Mary strips me of all my desperate strength, all the futile hard earned evolution and adornments I managed to soil myself with on the way, a ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
queen of my heart and soul
Jan 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"There is only one question: how to love this world," Mary Oliver writes in "Spring," one of the finest poems in this collection. The selections in this book try to find answers to that question, primarily in the natural world. These are poems about nature and wonder, love and death, egrets and humpback whales. They aren't difficult poems, but straightforward in their precise, well-crafted imagery. There is a beauty in their apparent simplicity, in the observations of a poet clearly in love with ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m only sorry that it took her death to get me to return to Oliver’s work.
Lauren Adams
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Mary Oliver is the greatest of them all. I bookmarked about 25 poems in this collection that I plan to read frequently (and already have.) She writes mainly about nature, starting with the smallest details described in the most artistic way, panning out its (and our) purpose in this world. I will say, I enjoyed the first half of this collection (poems from the '90s/'80s) significantly more than the second half (poems from the '60s/'70s).

If you've ever wanted to get into poetry but roll your eyes
Doug Wells
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a lovely writer of simple and elegant thoughts. This one ventured more towards nature and natural settings. Part of one, In Blackwater Woods, will forever stick with me:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:

to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go, let it go.
Laila (BigReadingLife)
An accessible, beautiful, meaningful collection of poetry that everyone should read. Oliver has a marvelous way of writing about the natural world and situating herself (and us) within it, asking the big questions of existence. This is a collection that I will be reading for the rest of my life.
Julie Ehlers
"Let us risk the wildest places, / Lest we go down in comfort, and despair."
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars review to come
Abigail McAlister
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this was the first Mary Oliver collection I've read and now I'm obsessed. she has such a talent for tying nature and our feelings towards it to life, death, spirituality, beginning and ending. these poems emptied and filled my heart too many times to count.

"you do not have to be good.
you do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
you only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves."
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The other of two books I purchased after my father-in-law's passing.

Contains many of the classic Oliver poems where I find comfort and inspiration, including:

- The Summer Day
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

- When Death Comes
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved getting to know Mary Oliver better through this collection. I've never been particularly affected by nature poetry, but the way that she ruminates on the connections between humans and the natural universe is incredibly moving. I also like the way this volume was organized, with her most recent poems first then going back in reverse chronological order-- her newer work definitely has a more serene air of wisdom, peace, and stability than her earliest work, where you can see her tr ...more
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, poetry
This was absolutely fantastic!
I can't choose a favourite, really because I enjoyed every poem. There are so many quotable and beautiful parts.
Most of them are influenced by nature which I personally really liked and thought was very fascinating.
They made me feel happy and sad at the same time. But most importantly, they made me think and reflect.
This was also the first time I've read poetry. I've never been into poetry - or at least I thought I wasn't - but apparently I was wrong. I'm glad I
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've been on a poetry kick lately. I would have told you 3 years ago that I don't get poetry, any poetry. But lately, I can't get enough. There are a few lines in some of these poems that knocked me out. Some of my favorites are The Summer Day, The Journey, Rage, A Visitor & In Blackwater Woods (which the quote below is taken from).

Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of
Shawn Sorensen
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The precious poetry of Mary Oliver gets a long look in volume one of her selected poems. These are classic poems, but Oliver's work stands the test of time and stays fresh better than almost any other poet.

I thought it might have been better to be at a shorter length and go chronologically from her first poems to her later volumes, but I was pleasantly surprised at how more raw and opinionated her earlier works were. Reading those pieces at the end might be what I remember most from this.

Mark Robison
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
My favorite poet by far but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone but hardcore fans. The book spans 30 years and goes backward chronologically from 1992 to 1963. She simply became a better poet after this time frame. It’s all good but just good, and the early stuff shows her trying too hard and cluttering up the poems with poetic flourishes. Which isn’t to say there aren’t some awesome parts: “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder/ if I have made of my life something particular, and real./ I don’ ...more
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
From "Spring": "Somewhere/a black bear/has just risen from sleep/and is staring/down the mountain./All night/in the brisk and shallow restlessness/of early spring/I think of her/her four black fists/flicking gravel/her tongue/like a red fire/touching the grass/the cold water./There is only one question:/how to love this world."
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
SAL/SPL Summer Book Bingo - Poetry
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first thing I read from Oliver was her collection "Why I Wake Early," which definitely reverberated in me. I followed that up with Dog Songs, and Thirst, and Red Bird, House of Light, and American Primitive. Few of these were compiled into this collection of poems from 1992; perhaps that is why, though I enjoyed it, I am, on the whole, lukewarm about it.

Though Oliver likes to ponder things like the soul, the spirit, higher power, prayer--things from which I tend to shy away--she does so wit
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Quibble in Flower...: New and Selected Poems, Volume One 1 3 Oct 12, 2018 07:07AM  
Line Breaks 1 2 May 17, 2018 01:22PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #27 -- New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver ... Beautiful!!! 1 4 Feb 18, 2015 08:54AM  
  • Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Picnic, Lightning
  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1982
  • Delights and Shadows
  • Migration: New and Selected Poems
  • White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
  • The Dead and the Living
  • Good Poems
  • Poems New and Collected
  • Fire to Fire
  • The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems
  • Time and Materials
  • New and Selected Poems, 1974-1994
  • Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
  • The Best of It: New and Selected Poems
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
“to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
“When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

More quotes…