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New and Selected Poems, Volume One

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  12,178 ratings  ·  657 reviews
Features previously published and new poems that explore the natural world and how it is connected to human beings and spirituality.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Beacon Press (first published 1992)
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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 ·  12,178 ratings  ·  657 reviews

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Dave 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.”
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
Debbie "DJ"
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, poetry
Fantastic! Oliver's poems always touch my heart, and this collection shares her best...especially "Wild Geese," and "The Journey." ...more
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. If you
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
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
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Julie by: Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Not often,
but now and again there's a moment
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild darkness,
that long, blue body of light.

Mary Oliver takes my breath away.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, poetry, favorites
A Bitterness

I believe you did not have a happy life.
I believe you were cheated.
I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery.
I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression.
I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling.
I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger.
I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all.
I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as
your bitterness.
I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to WhatIReallyRead by: Brene Brown's reading list
New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver

"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."

This book... I have no words. Every poem in this volume was brilliant. I had to stop myself from bookmarking every piece and ended up bookmarking every other piece. I took my time reading this book just to be able to soak up its beauty better.

For many people, poetry is associated with romantic love and longing. I don't think any of these were about romance. Mary
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
May 14, 2012 added it
Recommended to Jeanette (Ms. Feisty) 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
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!
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.

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
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.

J & J
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this collection. Definitely the kind of poetry that resonates with me. I look forward to reading more of Mary Oliver's work. ...more
Colby Brandt
Mar 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Oliver had an unquenchable fire burning for signs and wonders. In a world filled with corporatist sound and fury, Oliver beckoned us to pay attention to the natural world: to its unveiling of itself to us. Attention and care are the price of admission.
Jun 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Y'ALL. I got to page 191, not 251, so I didn't entirely finish the book.
With this book (and Dream of A Common Language) as the exception, I will ALWAYS finish the book I started. My mind nags me if I don't.
It is both a blessing and a curse to have the need to finish every book you once picked up.
And not finishing this WONDERFUL book was a little painful.
Mary Oliver reminded me why I love poetry so much.
It was a profound uplifter at a time where the world is a profound sadness.
Thank you, Ma
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
queen of my heart and soul
Mar 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
obsessed with Oliver's ability to wax out the most endearing poetry even when she's writing about molluscs ...more
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
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
Jul 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I find reading poetry quite intimidating because I often feel like I am missing the point or not understanding it well enough. nonetheless, most of these poems were quite approachable and reading them brought me a feeling of quiet wonder. I'll be definitely coming back to some of my favourites.

(tbh, rating such a large collection is hard - some poems were truly brilliant but some I could not figure out, so take the four stars with a grain of salt)
My favorite poet. Her work always blends simplicity and depth. She lived in the moment taking note of Nature and reveling in it. This is a volume of her earlier poems, and a feast for any lover of poetry.
Mary is accessible, and if you don't really like poetry, I challenge you that Mary Oliver will change your mind.
Jan 19, 2020 marked it as dnf
Shelves: poetry
Not sure when I will be able to appreciate poetry. Until then this book is a DNF. Will give it a try after some years when I am wiser and older, maybe?
I must try some other poets (or perhaps an anthology) to figure out the type of poetry that I would like. This definitely isn't my type.
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.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i don’t know what it is about her work that makes me love her so. i just do.
Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)
Just breathtakingly beautiful.
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 us
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.
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Quibble in Flower...: New and Selected Poems, Volume One 1 6 Oct 12, 2018 07:07AM  
Line Breaks 1 6 May 17, 2018 01:22PM  

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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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“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…