, 1995 - Nature
- 122 pages
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".