Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Poetry Collection from Mary Oliver

One of this nation's best-loved poets -- and a long-time favorite of Broadway Bookers -- is Mary Oliver, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and author of more than two dozen books, including eighteen collections of poetry. We are so happy that her newest collection of poetry -- Evidence -- has just been published.

Evidence is a collection of forty-seven new poems on all of Mary Oliver's classic themes. She writes perceptively about grief and mortality, love and nature, and the spiritual sustenance she draws from their gifts. Ever grateful for the bounty that is offered to us daily by the natural world, Oliver is attentive to the mysteries it imparts. The arresting beauty she finds in rivers and stones, willows and field corn, the mockingbirds' embellishments or the last hours of darkness permeates her poems. Her newest volume is imbued through and through with the power of nature to, in Oliver's words, excite the viewers toward sublime thought. And she reminds us that, in spite of anguish and loss, to have loved is everything.

Comments our very own Brian Doyle: "The work of Mary Oliver is one of those rare and lovely convergences. She is a lyric artist with a riveted eye and an enormous heart, one of the nation's great spiritual sentinels." And Katherine Hollander has this to say: "I should be clear that Mary Oliver is, to my mind, one of the most gifted American poets working in English today....the accuracy of her vision and the precision of her voice are unique in their refreshing simplicity."

I will offer you one little tidbit, "Prayer," but there are oh-so-many-more to enjoy:

May I never not be frisky,
May I never not be risque.

May my ashes, when you have them, friend,
and give them to the ocean,

leap in the froth of the waves,
still loving movement,

still ready, beyond all else,
to dance for the world.

Also newly available is the paperback version of her previous book, Red Bird, offering sixty-one poems -- the most ever in a single volume of her work. Overflowing with her keen observation of the natural world and her gratitude for its gifts, for the many people she has loved in her seventy years, as well as for her disobedient dog Percy, Red Bird is a quintessential collection of Oliver's finest lyrics.

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