I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her treasured dog Percy, Mary Oliver is beautifully open to the teachings contained within the smallest of moments. In A Thousand Mornings she explores, with startling clarity, humour and kindness, the mysteries of our daily experience.
'Oliver's poems are thoroughly convincing - as genuine, moving and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring' New York Times Book Review
'Mary Oliver teachers us the profound act of paying attention - a living wonder that makes it possible to appreciate the others' Boston Globe
Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-three. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Hennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. Oliver died in January 2019.
Mary Oliver's poetry is fine and deep it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations. - Stanley Kunitz
The gift of Oliver's poetry is that she communicates the beauty she finds in the world and makes it unforgettable. - Miami Herald
Oliver's poems are thoroughly convincing - as genuine, moving and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring. - New York Times Book Review
Mary Oliver teaches us the profound act of paying attention - a living wonder that makes it possible to appreciate all the others. - Boston Globe