At Blackwater Pond: Mary Oliver Reads Mary Oliver

Overview

One of the astonishing aspects of Oliver's work is the consistency of tone over this long period. What changes is an increased focus on nature and an increased precision with language that has made her one of our very best poets. --Stephen Dobyns, New York Times Book Review

Mary Oliver has published fifteen volumes of poetry and five books of prose in the span of four decades, but she rarely performs her poetry in live readings. Now, with the arrival of At Blackwater Pond, Mary ...

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Overview

One of the astonishing aspects of Oliver's work is the consistency of tone over this long period. What changes is an increased focus on nature and an increased precision with language that has made her one of our very best poets. --Stephen Dobyns, New York Times Book Review

Mary Oliver has published fifteen volumes of poetry and five books of prose in the span of four decades, but she rarely performs her poetry in live readings. Now, with the arrival of At Blackwater Pond, Mary Oliver has given her audience what they've longed to hear: the poet's voice reading her own work. In this beautifully produced compact disc, Mary Oliver has recorded forty of her favorite poems, nearly spanning the length of her career, from Dream Work through her newest volume, New and Selected Poems, Volume Two. The package is shrink-wrapped so that the elegant clothbound audiobook can takes its place on the poetry shelf. It also includes a fifteen-page booklet with an original essay, "Performance Note," photos of the author at Blackwater Pond, and a full listing of the poems and their sources.

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  • New and Selected Poems: Volume One
    New and Selected Poems: Volume One  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Much of the work of the poet is a mystery, but the last labor is clear; it is the deliverance of the poem. Often this happens through a manuscript or a book, but it can occur in a vocal way also. Has everyone at some time looked up the original meaning of performance? It means, says Webster, 'to finish, to complete.' The poem is meant to be given away, best of all by the spoken presentation of it; then the work is complete. Which makes performance sound, does it not, like part of the life-work of the poem, which I think it is. As if the poem itself had an independent life, or the endless possibility of its own life, in minds other than the poet's, which I think it has.--Mary Oliver, from "Performance Note," an original essay first published in At Blackwater Pond
Publishers Weekly
For decades, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Oliver has written in praise of the natural world, searching nature for answers to questions about belonging, faith, love, life and death. She is a poet of empathy, but she lets no one off easy-her love is sometimes tough. Still, there is powerful consolation everywhere in her work, as in her well-known poem, "Wild Geese: You do not have to be good./ You do not have to walk on your knees/ for a hundred miles through the/ desert repenting./ You only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves." In Oliver's world, a heron becomes "an old Chinese poet," and a worker bee's three-week life is long enough "to know that life is a blessing." Now, in her first CD of recorded readings, Oliver reads poems from several books spanning her entire career, including the acclaimed House of Light and Dream Work and Why I Wake Early. In clear, crisp studio sound, Oliver's voice comes across insistent and calming. Released just in time for National Poetry Month, this CD makes a good introduction or companion to Oliver's accessible work and an inviting gateway to poetry for newcomers. (Apr. 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Oliver, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, is certainly no -Thoreau, but the communion these poems seek with animal and vegetable life is something Thoreau would have admired. The owls, peonies, goldfinches, and wild geese Oliver describes here lead uncomplicated lives the poet yearns to imitate. And it's a treat to hear contemporary poetry that veers far from the confessional. Culled from seven of over 20 poetry books, the pieces share a focus that begins to seem repetitive near the end, yet there are always slight variations. This exquisitely packaged CD is the first audio volume of Oliver's work to be presented-a bit surprising, since she speaks in the introduction about how poetry is never finished until it is performed. While she's an excellent narrator, she obviously draws from different readings, hence the volume and pitch of the voice vary every so often. On one hand, it would have been nice to have a little author's commentary between some of the poems; on the other, Oliver is so present as observer, believer, and chronicler that no further words are needed.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with Soho Weekly News, New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807007006
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/15/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: CD (60 min.) and booklet
  • Pages: 15
  • Sales rank: 317,770
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver is one of the most celebrated and best-selling poets in America. Her poetry books include Blue Iris (Beacon / 6882-9 / $22.00 hc); House of Light (Beacon / 6811-X / $13.00 pb); New and Selected Poems, Volume One (Beacon / 6877-2 / $16.00 pb); and New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (Beacon / 6886-1 / $24.95 hc). She has also published five books of prose, including Rules for the Dance and, most recently, Long Life. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
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