"Understand, I am always trying to figure out what the soul is, and where hidden, and what shape-" "New and Selected Poems, Volume Two, " an anthology of forty-two new poems-an entire volume in itself-and sixty-nine poems hand-picked by Mary Oliver from six of her last eight books, is a major addition to a career in poetry that has spanned ...
"Understand, I am always trying to figure out what the soul is, and where hidden, and what shape-" "New and Selected Poems, Volume Two, " an anthology of forty-two new poems-an entire volume in itself-and sixty-nine poems hand-picked by Mary Oliver from six of her last eight books, is a major addition to a career in poetry that has spanned nearly five decades. Now recognized as an unparalleled poet of the natural world, Mary Oliver writes with unmatched dexterity and a profound appreciation for the divergence and convergence of all living things. Mary Oliver is always searching for the soul of things. In poem after poem, her investigations go from the humble green bean that nourishes her and makes her wonder if "something/-I can't name it-watches as I walk the/rows, accepting the gift of their lives/to assist mine" to the vast, untouchable bliss of "things you can't reach./But you can reach out to them, and all day long./The wind, the bird flying away./The idea of God." Oliver's search grows and is informed by experience, meditation, perception, and discernment. And all the while, during her quest, she is constantly surprised and fortified by joy. This graceful volume, designed to be paired with "New and Selected Poems, Volume One, " includes new poems on birds, toads, flowers, insects, bodies of water, and the extraordinary experience of the everyday in our lives. In the words of Alicia Ostriker, 'Mary Oliver moves by instinct, faith, and determination. She is among our finest poets, and still growing.' In both the older and new poems, Mary Oliver is a poet at the height of her control of image and language.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-10-24 Following by 13 years her National Book Award-winning New and Selected Volume One, this big and very quotable collection offers more of what Oliver's fans revere: optimistic, clear and lyrical explorations of varying ecosystems, (especially the birds, mammals, ponds and forests of the northeastern U.S.) mingled with rapt self-questioning, consolation and spiritual claims some might call prayers. One of the 42 new poems watches ravens on a "morning of green tenderness and/ rain"; others describe a mockingbird, a white heron, an obedient dog, tiger lilies, deer, terns, blueberry fields on Cape Cod (where Oliver lives) and a "Mountain Lion on East Hill Road," glimpsed just "once, years ago." Poems reprinted from six earlier books (beginning with 1994's White Pine) broaden the focus to insect life, to weather and the seasons ("I have talked with the faint clouds in the sky") and to other parts of the U.S.; while most poems use a mellifluous free verse, some choose the simplicities of prose, a form best achieved in Winter Hours (1999). (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1992-08-10 This collection brings together poetry from eight of Oliver's previously published books and 30 new poems. In all of her work, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive , Oliver, ``full of curiosity,'' writes about the natural world, engaging the entwined processes of life and death. ``Amazement'' figures in her persistent attention to things seen: ``If you notice anything / it leads you to notice / more / and more.'' Description then leads to meditation, a leap beyond the material world. Fundamentally religious in impulse, many of the poems move quickly away from concrete description. Metaphors are not quite grounded in the real; rather, they are asserted, declared. Of a bear the one poem's speaker notes, ``all day I think of her-- / her white teeth, her wordlessness, her perfect love.'' Even though this bear flicks the grass with her tongue, sharpens her claws against the ``silence/of the trees,'' the reader cannot quite see her. It's as if Oliver reports on mysteries rather than embodying them. And so, despite its undeniable music, her work too often becomes rhetorical; too often its earnestness turns preachy and its feeling becomes sentimental. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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