Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

Wander Slowly through the Forest

In this nature poem Mary Oliver tells us to open ourselves to “God or the gods,” to listen for “the words that will never leave God’s mouth,” to linger in the wind and the rain and to wander slowly through forests,

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Kipling (Rudyard), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Oliver (Mary), Pope (Alexander) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A White Cross Streaming across the Sky

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Milton (John), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hearing the Sound of Roses Singing

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments

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.

Posted in Krauss (Nicole), Milton (John), Oliver (Mary), Williams (William Carlos) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out of the Blackness Every Morning

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Bates (Scott), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Berry (Wendell), Clifton (Lucille), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Euripides, Kingsolver (Barbara), McCarthy (Cormac), Oliver (Mary), Shakespeare (William), Silko (Leslie Marmon), Sir Gawain Poet, Wordsworth (William) | Also 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.

Posted in Oliver (Mary), Shelley (Percy) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something Different Crosses the Threshold

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Blossoms Storm out of the Darkness

A perfect May poem from Mary Oliver.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Seahawks: Unleashed, Endlessly Hungry

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poem for Coping with Depression

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

What Extreme Cold Teaches Us

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

Posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make Your Dull Life Seem Magical

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged | 2 Comments

On Loving and Letting Go

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , | 4 Comments

In Solitary Others We See Ourselves

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

Posted in Defoe (Daniel), Lee (Harper), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Your One Wild and Precious Life

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dare to Be Happy, Dare to Pray

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

My Father in the Hospital

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 6 Comments

A Breathing Palace of Leaves

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments

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.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Autumn’s Subterranean Mysteries

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

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 5 Comments

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.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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.”

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Far Off the Bells Rang through the Morning

Mary Oliver finds Easter holiness in a new born fawn.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , | 6 Comments

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.”

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

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.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Nothing So Sensible as Sensual Inundation

Poetry, with its eye on what really matters, can help us taste food again. Mary Oliver’s “Plum Trees” reminds us to eat with full awareness.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Marvell (Andrew), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete