Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays [NOOK Book]

Overview

Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows and, of course, the snowy owl, among a dozen others-including ten poems that have never before been collected. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, "Owls," selected for the Best American Essays series, and "Bird," a new essay that ...
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Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

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Overview

Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows and, of course, the snowy owl, among a dozen others-including ten poems that have never before been collected. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, "Owls," selected for the Best American Essays series, and "Bird," a new essay that will surely take its place among the classics of the genre.

In the words of the poet Stanley Kunitz, "Mary Oliver's poetry is fine and deep; it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations."

For anyone who values poetry and essays, for anyone who cares about birds, Owls and Other Fantasies will be a treasured gift; for those who love both, it will be essential reading.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Alternating poems, short essays and drawings of feathers, Oliver's 12th collection is strongest and most direct when using the first person to show the second a path to the good life: "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." Many of the poems take up moments of attention to, and are titled for, birds: goldfinches "having a melodious argument"; hummingbirds as "tiny fireworks"; herons "in the black, polished water"; starlings "Chunky and noisy/ but with stars in their black feathers"; and the local crow, of whom she says "I have never seen anything brighter." Oliver won a Pulitzer Prize for American Primitive (1984) and a National Book Award for New and Selected Poems (1992). If this book lacks some of the urgency of earlier work, it has been replaced by a confidence that seems less about writing highly crafted poems than about rendering the moment, whether of observation or imagination, simply and easily, whether in prose or verse. As an essay on a "black-backed gull" Oliver rescued puts it, "no matter how hard I try to tell this story, it's not like it was," but the best of these 28 pieces seem to get close. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Oliver has gained enormous popularity in recent years for the accessible yet highly articulate and profound treatment she gives each poem. In this collection, she focuses her wakeful attention on wildlife, primarily birds. Thus, bird enthusiasts will enjoy this book, even if they don't customarily read poetry. The poems in this slim volume are interwoven with short prose pieces; those about looking for a horned owl's nest and an achingly touching story about a rescued seagull are among the most memorable. The theme of aging runs throughout the work-life as a panorama, a landscape, through which the poet moves toward its end, observing as she goes the disparate natures of most humans and animals. Speaking of a catbird, Oliver writes: "For he will never sing for the kingdom of dollars./ For he will never grow pockets in his gray wings." Describing hummingbirds: "in their pale-green dresses;/ then they rose, tiny fireworks,/ into the leaves." An unmistakable Buddhist influence shows itself in poems such as "Yes! No!" with its final line, "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." This new title will bring much pleasure to the many readers who claim Oliver as their favorite poet, as well as to people new to her work. Very highly recommended.-Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Mary Oliver is beautiful and accurate in this book of poetry and prose about birds . . . all rendered with the precision of a line-drawing of a single feather that puts the entire wing into perspective.--Orion

"What we have here are moral essays in prose and verse, passionate meditations on the conduct of life. You will be the wiser-as I believe I am-for having read them."--Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer

"These poems and essays dazzle us and then send us into deep reflection about the marvels and mysteries of life that come to us in the sightings, songs, and soaring of birds."--Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Health

"Owls and Other Fantasies will bring much pleasure to the many readers who claim Oliver as their favorite poet, as well as to people new to her work." --Judy Clarence, Booklist

"This...title will bring much pleasure to the many readers who claim Oliver as their favorite poet, as well as to people new to her work."--Library Journal

A Book Sense 76 Selection in January 2004

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807096826
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 9/30/2003
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 902,171
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver, winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, was acknowledged by the New York Times Book Review as one of this country‚Äôs best-selling poets. Her books of poetry include EvidenceRed Bird, Thirst, and New and Selected Poems , Volumes One and Two. Her works of prose include Our World, Long Life, and A Poetry Handbook. She has recorded two audio books, At Blackwater Pond and Many Miles. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Hobe Sound, Florida. 
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Table of Contents

Wild Geese 1
The Dipper 2
Spring 4
Goldfinches 7
Such Singing in the Wild Branches 8
The Swan 10
Owls 13
June 19
Hawk 20
The Kingfisher 23
Herons in Winter in the Frozen Marsh 24
Yes! No! 27
Hummingbirds 28
The Kookaburras 31
The Loon on Oak-Head Pond 33
While I Am Writing a Poem to Celebrate Summer, the Meadowlark Begins to Sing 34
Catbird 36
Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard 38
Bird 41
Wrens 46
Some Herons 48
September 51
Crow 52
White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field 54
Starlings in Winter 56
I Looked Up 59
Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond 60
Afterword: Backyard 65
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