Mary Oliver

Biography of Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio. She lived for a long time before her death in 2019 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. At one time she was a secretary for Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s sister, and there is some evidence of Millay’s influence in Oliver’s early poetry. Her writing had few human subjects, but she drew us into her humanity through her acute focus on nature and her precision with language.

She was the author of several volumes of poetry, including Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999); West Wind (1997); White Pine (1994); New and Selected Poems (1992), which won the National Book Award; House of Light (1990); and American Primitive (1983), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize.

Oliver has also written three books: Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse (1998), Blue Pastures (1995), and A Poetry Handbook (1994).

Olivers’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (1980-1981) and from the National Endowment of the Arts (1972-1973). She has also received an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award, a Lannan Literary Award, and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize.

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Poems By Mary Oliver


A Dream of Trees (No Comments »)
A Letter from Home (No Comments »)
A Meeting (No Comments »)
After Arguing Against The Contention That Art Must Come From Discontent (No Comments »)
At Blackwater Pond (No Comments »)
At Great Pond (No Comments »)
Beyond the Snow Belt (No Comments »)
Black Oaks (No Comments »)
Blossom (No Comments »)
Catbird (No Comments »)
Climbing The Chagrin River (No Comments »)
Cold Poem (No Comments »)
Daisies (No Comments »)
Egrets (No Comments »)
Flare (No Comments »)
Gannets (No Comments »)
Happiness (No Comments »)
Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches (No Comments »)
Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond (No Comments »)
Honey At The Table (No Comments »)
Hummingbird Pauses at the Trumpet Vine (No Comments »)
Knife (No Comments »)
Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me (No Comments »)
Lightning (No Comments »)
Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard (No Comments »)
Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith (No Comments »)
Mindful (No Comments »)
Moccasin Flowers (No Comments »)
Mockingbirds (No Comments »)
Moles (No Comments »)
Mushrooms (No Comments »)
Music (No Comments »)
Next Time (No Comments »)
On Winter’s Margin (No Comments »)
One (No Comments »)
Peonies (No Comments »)
Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York,1957 (No Comments »)
Poem (The spirit likes to dress up…) (No Comments »)
Skunk Cabbage (No Comments »)
Sleeping In The Forest (No Comments »)
Snow Geese (No Comments »)
Snowy Night (No Comments »)
Some Things The World Gave (No Comments »)
Song of the Builders (No Comments »)
Stanley Kunitz (No Comments »)
Starlings in Winter (No Comments »)
Such Singing in the Wild Branches (No Comments »)
Sunrise (No Comments »)
The Chance To Love Everything (No Comments »)
The Family (No Comments »)
The Fish (No Comments »)
The Humpbacks (No Comments »)
The Journey (No Comments »)
The Kookaburras (No Comments »)
The Lark (No Comments »)
The Lily (No Comments »)
The Moths (No Comments »)
The Rapture (No Comments »)
The Summer Day (No Comments »)
The Sun (No Comments »)
The Swan (No Comments »)
The Truro Bear (No Comments »)
Toward The Space Age (No Comments »)
Two Kinds of Deliverance (No Comments »)
Walking To Oak-Head Pond, And Thinking Of The Ponds I Will Visit In The Next Days And Weeks (No Comments »)
When Death Comes (No Comments »)
Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End? (No Comments »)
White Night (No Comments »)
Why I Wake Early (No Comments »)

American Primitive

August (No Comments »)
Clapp’s Pond (No Comments »)

Dream Work

A Visitor (No Comments »)
Dogfish (No Comments »)
Morning Poem (No Comments »)
Wild Geese (No Comments »)

House of Light

Fall Song (No Comments »)
Lilies (No Comments »)
The Buddha’s Last Instruction (No Comments »)
The Kingfisher (No Comments »)
Turtle (No Comments »)

New Poems

Marengo (No Comments »)

Twelve Moons

Aunt Leaf (No Comments »)

West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems

That Sweet Flute John Clare (No Comments »)

White Pine

Morning Glories (No Comments »)
Yes! No! (No Comments »)

Winter Hours

Sand Dabs, Five (No Comments »)