Blue Pastures

Front Cover
Harcourt Brace, 1995 - Nature - 122 pages
39 Reviews
With consummate craftsmanship, Mary Oliver has fashioned fifteen luminous prose pieces: of nature, of writing, of herself and those around her. She praises Whitman ("the brother I did not have") and denounces cuteness ("we are, none of use, cute"). She notes where the extraordinary is to be found ("it is more likely to stick to the risk-taker than the ticket-taker") and extols solitude ("creative work needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to"). Nature speaks to her, and she speaks to nature ("I put my face close to the lily, where it stands just above the grass, and give it a good greeting from the stem of my heart"). Says Mary Oliver, "This book is biased, opinionated; also it is joyful, and probably there's despair here too - can a life slide forward sixty years without it? But the reader will find the pleasures more certain, and more constant, than the rills of despond. Thus it has turned out in my life so far, influenced by the sustaining passions: love of the wild world, love of literature, love for and from another person".

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Blue Pastures

User Review  - Goodreads

I have become a huge fan, and cannot wait to read more of Mary Oliver's prose and poetry! Where have I been that her work has never crossed my radar? How extraordinarily insightful! She speaks Nature like her own personal vocabulary. Read full review

Review: Blue Pastures

User Review  - Goodreads

A hodgepodge of writings; bits and pieces. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the other works I have read so far. Read full review


At Herring Cove
Blue Pastures

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1995)

Mary Oliver was born in Maple Heights, Ohio on September 10, 1935. She attended Ohio State University and Vassar College, but did not receive a degree. Her first collection of poems, No Voyage and Other Poems, was published in 1963. Her other works include White Pine, West Wind, Why I Wake Early, Thirst, Red Bird, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems, A Thousand Mornings, and Blue Horses: Poems. She has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for American Primitive, the Christopher Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light, and the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems. Her books of prose include A Poetry Handbook, Blue Pastures, Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse, and Long Life: Essays and Other Writings. She held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College from 1995 to 2001.

Bibliographic information