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A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

A Thousand Mornings (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Mary Oliver

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2581444,311 (4.13)38
Title:A Thousand Mornings
Authors:Mary Oliver
Info:Penguin Press HC, The (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 96 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (2012)



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Mary Oliver does it again. A short collection of her poetry that offers her signature realism and wholesome, literal evocation of her tasteful and spectacularly insightful reactions to the world around her, and around us. The reader is never in doubt about what she’s saying—obscurity is not her thing, and disjointed word play and annoying sentence fragments are not her thing. I take instruction from Mary Oliver every time I read her work. There is calm, quiet joy in her words. She invites the reader to respect stillness. “Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.” [from “Today”]

More on my blogs:
http://magisterlibrorum.blogspot.com/ ( )
  rsubber | Oct 3, 2015 |
My first exposure to Mary Oliver's poetry. I enjoyed the poems, especially "The Moth, The Mountains, The Rivers","Hum, Hum" and "The Man Who Has Many Answers." Will be reading more of her poems in future. ( )
  JudyCroome | May 12, 2015 |
Mary Oliver's poetry always strikes a chord with me. This collection is very satisfying. ( )
  tangledthread | Jan 29, 2015 |

Septuagenarian life affirmations with an occasional touch of dark. I'm on board. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
I love the ideas in Oliver's poetry, but her language rarely has the same vivaciousness or beauty as her sense of vision:

Sometimes I spend all day trying to count
the leaves on a single tree. To do this I
have to climb branch by branch and
write down the numbers in a little book.
So, I suppose, from their point of view,
it's reasonable that my friends say: what
foolishness! She's got her head in the clouds

But it's not. Of course I have to give up,
but by then I'm half crazy with the wonder
of it--the abundance of the leaves, the
quietness of the branches, the hopelessness
of my effort. And I am in that delicious
and important place, roaring with laughter,
full of earth-praise.

"Full of earth praise" is a good description of the poetry of Mary Oliver. She homes in on moments of it in everything from a bird chattering in a shrub to a caught fish, to a tree, defoliated by a storm leafing out again out of season. (That poem, "Hurricane" resonated with me because I have lived through many a hurricane and seen the Bradford pears drop all their wind-desiccated leaves in the aftermath, and burst into bloom in September, fully seven months out of season).

And I love her earth praise, I do. That quiet wonder that seems to overtake her at the smallest thing. I have this idea of her standing out in the open, arms spread towards the wind and the weather and the fullness of life, taking it all into herself.

But her words are not as beautiful as her vision. She sometimes calls them prayers, but prayers are often very beautiful. Mary Oliver's poetry is....accessible. But it is not...gorgeous. Where it comes close, the thought becomes a little trite:

This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.

it's like you can have the idea, or the vision, but not both.

My favorite poem in the collection was called "Hum, Hum"; which I won't reproduce here because the spacing it important, but it is about how the music of the bees, the music of live, works its way into her even when life has been something that must be survived, rather than lived.

It would be wrong to say I don't like the poetry of Mary Oliver--I do, oh so very much. She writes about things I see and feel when I'm walking in my own garden, or along my own bit of sea marsh. But while her poetry might give me a feeling of quiet comfort and pleasure, it doesn't make me shiver, and it doesn't make me gasp in shock. And it almost never makes me think "that is the most beautiful line I have ever read."
1 vote southernbooklady | Jan 26, 2014 |
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In A THOUSAND MORNINGS, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has come to define her lifes work, transporting us to the marshland and coastline of her beloved home, Provincetown, Massachusetts. In these pages, Oliver shares the wonder of dawn, the grace of animals, and the transformative power of attention. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her adored dog, Percy, she is ever patient in her observations and open to the teachings contained in the smallest of moments.… (more)

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