Category Archives: Oliver (Mary)

Stillness, One of the Doors of the Temple

The Biblical story where Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha can be read as an injunction to eschew busyness and focus on God. This Mary Oliver poem captures the spirit of such a lesson.

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Pope Foresaw GOP Capitulation to Trump

Alexander Pope warned, in “Essay on Man” that vice loses its ugliness once it becomes familiar. This is the danger we face with the normalization of Donald Trump.

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To Save the World, Know Your Habitat

In his book “Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality,” Darcia Navaez talks about the importance of knowing our habitat if we are to develop an eco-morality. Poets like Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver help show us the way.

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A White Cross Streaming across the Sky

Today’s Easter poem is Mary Oliver’s “The Swan,” in which everything suddenly becomes clear.

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Introducing a New Genre: Cli-Fi

Weather disappeared largely from literature when it was seen unrealted to the actions of humans. With climate change now upon us, however, a new literary genre has arisen.

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Hearing the Sound of Roses Singing

For Mary Oliver, going into the woods and paying attention to nature is a form of prayer.

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In April, Frogs Shout Their Desire

In this Mary Oliver poem, frogs shout their desire and people aren’t far behind.

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Why Read Lit? Let Me Count the Reasons

I grapple today about why it is essential to read lit. And what happens to us when we don’t.

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Out of the Blackness Every Morning

Many of Mary Oliver’s poems, including “The Sun,” function well as Easter poems.

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Pesticides vs. Sweetness and Wings

Monarch butterflies and bees are in grave danger. Poems by Scott Bates and Mary Oliver remind us what we will lose if we don’t move to protect them.

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The Peace of Wild Things

My Intro to Literature class explored how a disconnect from nature leads to existential anguish while opening themselves up to nature provides spiritual nourishment.

Also posted in Berry (Wendell), Clifton (Lucille), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Euripides, Kingsolver (Barbara), McCarthy (Cormac), Shakespeare (William), Silko (Leslie Marmon), Sir Gawain Poet, Wordsworth (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hunkering Down in Hard Times

When your side loses in an election, be like Mary Oliver’s blue heron: hunker down, absorb the blows, and keep the fire of hope burning.

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Something Different Crosses the Threshold

Mary Oliver gives a powerful reading of Jesus calming the storm.

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Blossoms Storm out of the Darkness

A perfect May poem from Mary Oliver.

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Seahawks: Unleashed, Endlessly Hungry

Mary Oliver’s poem about hunting hawks about sums up last night’s Super Bowl.

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Poem for Coping with Depression

Mary Oliver’s “Poem for a Blue Heron” is a hopeful but realistic poem about coping with depression.

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What Extreme Cold Teaches Us

As Coleridge and Mary Oliver teach us, when we are trapped in extreme cold, we come to value life.

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How to Make Your Dull Life Seem Magical

Does your life seem one long grind? Let Mary Oliver help you see it differently?

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On Loving and Letting Go

Mary Oliver’s “In Blackwater Woods” instructs us in how to live and how to die.

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In Solitary Others We See Ourselves

When a Maine hermit is arrested after 27 years in solitude, we project our stories upon him.

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Your One Wild and Precious Life

Mary Oliver’s celebration of summer is a prayer operates as a prayer of gratitude.

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Dare to Be Happy, Dare to Pray

Mary Oliver finds hope even for those weighed down by the thorn of depression.

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My Father in the Hospital

A Mary Oliver poems captures my fears about my father, currently hospitalized.

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A Breathing Palace of Leaves

Many of Mary Oliver’s nature poems enact a version of the crucifixion and resurrection.

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First Snowfall, A Moment of Grace

For Mary Oliver, the season’s first snow fall raises existential questions and then answers them in its own way.

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Autumn’s Subterranean Mysteries

Oliver’s “Fall Song” captures the “rich spiced residues” of autumn.

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The Rain Falls Soft as the Fall of Moccasins

Describing the slaughter of the buffalo herds by whites, Mary Oliver draws on Sioux religion to imagine them as not altogether gone.

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The Silver Water Crushes Like Silk

Although not explicitly religious, Mary Oliver has a Good Friday-Resurrection progression in many of her poems, including “Morning at Great Pond.”

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Far Off the Bells Rang through the Morning

Mary Oliver finds Easter holiness in a new born fawn.

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Such Singing in the Wild Branches

On a beautiful spring morning when she is startled by birdsong, Mary Oliver describes a merging with nature where she “began to understand what the bird was saying.”

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The Black Honey of Summer

My son’s marriage proposal to his Trinidadian girlfriend has become bound up in my mind with a Mary Oliver poem about blackberries.

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