Category Archives: Oliver (Mary)

Lessons from Being Cold & Depressed

Thursday The polar vortex that is freezing America’s northern states gives me an excuse to rerun a post I wrote on Mary Oliver’s “Cold Poem.” If you want a silver lining for extreme cold, Oliver has one. Reprinted from January 8, 2014 Much of the United States is caught in extremely cold temperatures at the […]

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Mary Oliver’s Christian Vision

Spiritual Sunday It has become a tradition with this blog to share a Mary Oliver poem every Easter. Although the poet, who died this past Thursday, wasn’t overtly religious, many of her poems are dramas of grace intervening in a fallen world. She strikes me as the kind of Christian that Emily Dickinson was, finding […]

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R.I.P. Mary Oliver, Bride of Amazement

Friday Mary Oliver, who died yesterday, may have been America’s favorite poet. I taught her Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive for over 20 years in a nature-focused Introduction to Literature class and so have seen up close her impact on readers. When death has entered my own life, I have often turned to Oliver’s poetry. For […]

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Finding God in Nature

John Gatta’s book “Making Nature Sacred” explores how nature spirituality entered into America’s religions and was noted by its creative writers.

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Sleeping Outdoors

Poetry adds an extra dimension to sleeping outdoors.

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How To Cross Trump’s Swamp

Trump promised to “drain the swamp” but is proving to be perhaps our most corrupt president. Mary Oliver’s “Crossing the Swamp” captures the feelings of many.

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A Time To Gather Spiritual Honey

Mary Oliver love flowers because of their origins in dark places and for their ability to make luminous our own dark places.

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Battered by a Raging Stormy

Stormy Daniels’s power over Donald Trump brings to mind various literary storms, such as Lear’s and those described by Mary Oliver and H.D.

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Bone-Crushing Prince of Dark Days

Trump regards Special Counsel Robert Mueller as the crows view the owl in Mary Oliver’s “In the Pine Woods: Crows and Owl.”

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  • 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.

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