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About the author
A private person by nature, Mary Oliver has given very few interviews over the years. Instead, she prefers to let her work speak for itself. And speak it has, for the past five decades, to countless readers. The New York Times recently acknowledged Mary Oliver as “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.” Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28; No Voyage and Other Poems, originally printed in the UK by Dent Press, was reissued in the United States in 1965 by Houghton Mifflin. Oliver has since published many works of poetry and prose. As a young woman, Oliver studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College, but took no degree. She lived for several years at the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay in upper New York state, companion to the poet’s sister Norma Millay. It was there, in the late ’50s, that she met photographer Molly Malone Cook. For more than forty years, Cook and Oliver made their home together, largely in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they lived until Cook’s death in 2005. Over the course of her long and illustrious career, Oliver has received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She has also received the Shelley Memorial Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award; the Christopher Award and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light; the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems; a Lannan Foundation Literary Award; and the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence. Oliver’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays 1996, 1998, 2001; the Anchor Essay Annual 1998, as well as Orion, Onearth and other periodicals. Oliver was editor of Best American Essays 2009. Oliver’s books on the craft of poetry, A Poetry Handbook and Rules for the Dance, are used widely in writing programs. She is an acclaimed reader and has read in practically every state as well as other countries. She has led workshops at various colleges and universities, and held residencies at Case Western Reserve University, Bucknell University, University of Cincinnati, and Sweet Briar College. From 1995, for five years, she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Art Institute of Boston (1998), Dartmouth College (2007) and Tufts University (2008). Oliver currently lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the inspiration for much of her work.
Beacon Press maintains a Mary Oliver website, maryoliver.beacon.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/poetmaryoliver.
This collection of poems by Mary Oliver once again invites the reader to step across the threshold of ordinary life into a world of natural and spiritual luminosity.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day" (one of the poems in this volume)
Winner of a 1991 Christopher Award
Winner of the 1991 Boston Globe Lawrence L. Winship Book Award
From the Trade Paperback edition.
; March 2012
ISBN 9780807095393Read online
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Title: House of Light
Author: Mary Oliver
Some Questions You Might Ask
The Buddha’s Last Instruction
The Hermit Crab
“Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”
The Loon on Oak-Head Pond
What Is It?
Five A.M. in the Pinewoods
Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard
The Lilies Break Open Over the Dark Water
Death at a Great Distance
Looking for Snakes
The Oak Tree at the Entrance to Blackwater Pond
The Summer Day
Roses, Late Summer
Herons in Winter in the Frozen Marsh
Looking at a Book of van Gogh’s Paintings, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Foxes in Winter
How Turtles Come to Spend the Winter in the Aquarium, Then Are Flown South and Released Back Into the Sea
White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field
In the press
Oliver's poems are thoroughly convincing--as genuine, moving, and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring. -The New York Times Book Review
From the Trade Paperback edition.