Evidence

Evidence

4.2 10
by Mary Oliver
     
 

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Never afraid to shed the pretense of academic poetry, never shy of letting the power of an image lie in unadorned language, Mary Oliver offers us poems of arresting beauty that reflect on the power of love and the great gifts of the natural world. Inspired by the familiar lines from William Wordsworth, "To me the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do…  See more details below

Overview

Never afraid to shed the pretense of academic poetry, never shy of letting the power of an image lie in unadorned language, Mary Oliver offers us poems of arresting beauty that reflect on the power of love and the great gifts of the natural world. Inspired by the familiar lines from William Wordsworth, "To me the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears," she uncovers the evidence presented to us daily by nature, in rivers and stones, willows and field corn, the mockingbird's "embellishments," or the last hours of darkness.

Editorial Reviews

In one of this book's 46 poems, Mary Oliver declares "this is a book / of the heart's rapture, / of hearing and praising." In Evidence, as always, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner expresses that rapture in imagery even more arresting because it is so unadorned. These poems remind us of the spare advice that Oliver once gave to budding writers: "Pay attention and cultivate astonishment."
From the Publisher
“A ‘nature’ poet in the league of Wordsworth, whose poetry is said to have inspired this volume. . . There is still almost audible excitement in her literary voice, but her nature mysticism seems to have reached a stage more of stillness—a quiet that is not so much a quality as a presence that informs most of her images . . . A subtle collection that sometimes teaches but never preaches. All the usual Oliver themes—the divine in the physical world, the importance of having loved, the power and consolation of words—are present.”
—Tim Pfaff, Bay Area Reporter
 
“Gloriously alive, inquisitive, and welcoming. A prolific and cherished poet, [Oliver] makes readers feel as though they’ve been part of the quest for wisdom and grace she records in her lucid, giving, prayerful poems . . . Gratitude is the mode here, and sustained attention is the vehicle . . . Within each lifting lyric, Oliver declares all of life holy.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist
 
“I think of Oliver as a fierce, uncompromising lyricist, a loyalist of the marshes. Hers is a voice we desperately need.”
—Maxine Kumin 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807097441
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
736,676
File size:
2 MB

Meet 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.

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Evidence 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary Oliver's sensitivity to nature and masterful verse is really a joy. Each publication/book better than the last.
wrmjr66 More than 1 year ago
Mary Oliver's poetry has an almost Zen-like precision as she gazes at the natural world. and the poems in this volume are no exception. Fans of her earlier poetry will still fine the short lines and vivid images that have made her one of the best-known poets in the U.S. Newcomers will find the influence of Dickinson, Frost and W.C. Williams to be quite prevalent in her verse. Overall, Evidence is an enjoyable collection of lyric poetry. Not all the poems in this collection are destined to be long-remembered, however. Oliver can sometimes slip into a voice that tries to pass off familiar wisdom as deep insight. She can also be quite sentimental at times, though at other times her vision is ice hard. Her spirituality veers from the orthodox Christian to the new age mystic, but both are always at the service of an adoration of nature; she seems to me to be a pantheist in Christian garb. These issues, though, did not prevent me from enjoying the collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary Oliver freshly recreates the natural world in her poems. Every time I read her I rediscover the beauty in the natural world - birds, flowers, animals, and more. She is especially good at revealing the value - dare I say the miracle - of the ordinary. In each natural object to which she chooses to pay attention she finds layers of meaning; expressions of beauty. She teaches her reader by the example of poetry to be patient enough to mine the ore of what is in front of us in this moment.
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