"The gift of Oliver's poetry is that she communicates the beauty she finds in the world and makes it unforgettable" ( Miami Herald ). This has never been truer than in Long Life, a luminous collection of seventeen essays and ten poems.
With the grace and precision that are the hallmarks of her work, Oliver shows us how writing "is a way of offering praise to the world" and suggests we see her poems as "little alleluias." Whether describing a goosefish stranded at low tide, the feeling of being baptized by the mist from a whale's blowhole, or the "connection between soul and landscape," Oliver invites readers to find themselves and their experiences at the center of her world. In Long Life she also speaks of poets and writers: Wordsworth's "whirlwind" of "beauty and strangeness"; Hawthorne's "sweet-tempered" side; and Emerson's belief that "a man's inclination, once awakened to it, would be to turn all the heavy sails of his life to a moral purpose."
With consummate craftsmanship, Mary Oliver has created a breathtaking volume sure to add to her reputation as "one of our very best poets" (New York Times Book Review ).
Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28. 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 Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She was the author of more than twenty books, including The Leaf and the Cloud and Long Life. Her many accolades include the National Book Award. She died in 2019.
"A rigorous mind combined with a capacity for devotion; a desire to find the exact, economical, shining phrase; a wish to witness, and a wish to share."—Chicago Tribune
"Oliver writes exquisitely lucid prose. Here, in her most generously personal essays to date, she articulates the beliefs, observations, and inspirations that feed her poetry. Essential...radiant."—Booklist
Praise for Mary Oliver
"A master of spare and evocative imagery."—Poetry
"What good company Mary Oliver is!"—Los Angeles Times
"A great poet....She is amazed but not blinded."—Boston Globe
"The gift of Oliver's poetry is that she communicates the beauty she finds in the world and makes is unforgettable."—Miami Herald
"Oliver's poems are thoroughly convincing as genuine, moving, and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring."—The New York Times
"Oliver might be accused of an untransformed and reactionary romanticism. One would think that poems about self, nature, death, and ecstasy had run their course in English. Think again."—Chicago Tribune
"Who wouldn't want to be part of Mary Oliver's world?"—Appalachian Review