New and Selected Poems

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Overview

Winner of the 1992 National Book Award for Poetry

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 1993

"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 ...
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New and Selected Poems, Volume One

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Overview

Winner of the 1992 National Book Award for Poetry

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 1993

"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. . . .
These poems sustain us rather than divert us. Although few poets have fewer human beings in their poems than Mary Oliver, it is ironic that few poets also go so far to help us forward."
-Stephen Dobyns, The New York Times Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection brings together poetry from eight of Oliver's previously published books and 30 new poems. In all of her work, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive , Oliver, ``full of curiosity,'' writes about the natural world, engaging the entwined processes of life and death. ``Amazement'' figures in her persistent attention to things seen: ``If you notice anything / it leads you to notice / more / and more.'' Description then leads to meditation, a leap beyond the material world. Fundamentally religious in impulse, many of the poems move quickly away from concrete description. Metaphors are not quite grounded in the real; rather, they are asserted, declared. Of a bear the one poem's speaker notes, ``all day I think of her-- / her white teeth, her wordlessness, her perfect love.'' Even though this bear flicks the grass with her tongue, sharpens her claws against the ``silence/of the trees,'' the reader cannot quite see her. It's as if Oliver reports on mysteries rather than embodying them. And so, despite its undeniable music, her work too often becomes rhetorical; too often its earnestness turns preachy and its feeling becomes sentimental. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This collection is drawn from seven previous books and includes 30 new poems (written in 1991 and 1992). Since her Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive ( LJ 2/15/83), Oliver has continued to examine the natural world and its mysteries. There is a delightful, almost naive voice speaking in ``A Certain Sharpness in the Morning Air,'' where encountering a skunk with ``the white stripe like a river/ running down its spine'' becomes an occasion for celebrating the shaggy ``wild life of the fields.'' Oliver's ability to fashion an image is evident in ``Water Snake,'' where the shy reptile looks at the poet with ``gravel eyes'' and probes the air with ``the feather of his tongue.'' Other creatures inspire poems, as do lilies, ponds, skunk cabbage, and moccasin flowers. But these are more than odes to nature. Oliver writes with a sure touch and a simple elegance of other concerns: the acceptance of fate, the shortness of life, the inevitability of loss and suffering. Her poems express the human need to be at home in the world until we rise and fall ``into something better.''-- Francis Poole, Univ. of Delaware Lib., Newark
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807068199
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 7/1/1993
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 255
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver has written more than ten volumes of poetry and prose and is one of America's best-selling and most honored poets, a winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. A longtime resident of Provincetown, Massachusetts, she is now on the faculty of Bennington College in Vermont.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2003

    Please get this book!

    I can't say enough about what Mary Oliver has meant to me. I'm surprised there's only been one review here, but I guess Barnes and Noble haven't been posting reader reviews for very long. Mary Oliver looks at nature like we all wish we could--and when we read her, we do. A lot of people now seem not to believe in things like wisdom and truth, but they must not have read Mary Oliver. Just read this poem and you'll know what I mean. It's called 'Late Spring Evening.' What can we say to these junebugs/ on the rebound from the screens we raise/ and swooning heavily to the porch floor?/ Do we dare ask them their reasons/ when we know they¿ll never ask ours?/ Let¿s be content to guess, but not insist,/ it¿s something to do with porchlights./ Unconsciousness/ must be a consolation to them, batted by the cat,/ but should we be consoled/ by the unsought blessing of their presence?/ Fly from the light, save yourselves, we¿ll tell them,/ grateful they¿ll never heed us.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2001

    Her Writing Is Mystical

    Mary Oliver is in tune with her environment, the natural world around us. She is a gifted woman, her poems speak for her inner soul.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Superb!

    Winner of National Book Award

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  • Posted March 17, 2009

    New and Selected Poems Volume One

    I absolutely loved this book. I really enjoyed reading it. I liked it so much actually because you didn't have to follow along with a story. You could read it whenever you felt and didn't have to worry about forgetting anything or remembering characters. It was a very easy read that I would recomend for everyone to read. There were some really good motivational poems in this book. If I could I would choose to read all the other volumes of this book for the oth book projects, but even though I can't I will definately read them in my spare time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Book Review #1 :]]

    This is the first poem book I have ever read that hasn't rhymed. It's a really good book, as clever written as it is, it does get borring after a while. After you read for about 1/2 an hour, it feels like you are reading about the same thing over and over again. I would recommend this book however, because it is very well written and it is so out of the ordinary. Young adult literature is so stricken and rule biding, now a days, you would never expect to see a kid say "my favorite book is a non-rhyming poem book by Mary Oliver, and it sounds like this..." It is kind of book that has to be a personal choice of reading. It has no plot or set characters. You conjure things from your own interpretation of the book. You mentally take what you can connect with away from the book when you read poetry as literature. That is what I feel about "New and Selected Poems" by Mary Oliver.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2008

    Wonderful prose, If you like nature poems you'll love this

    I did enjoy this book and really respect Mary Oliver as a poet and fellow human being. The prose flowed very nicely as all great poetry should. If you enjoy poetry about nature then this is the book for you. Mary is a woman that views the Natural World in an amazing and different way. Read 'Mushroom' and you'll see what I mean.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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