Red Bird

Red Bird

by Mary Oliver


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, January 24

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807068939
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 129,522
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)

About 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.

Beacon Press maintains a Mary Oliver website, You can also become a fan on Facebook at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Red Bird 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This latest volume of Mary Oliver¿s poetry, published in 2008, contains many pieces in which she uses her clarity of vision to help us see what she sees and feel what she feels about it, which I consider is a hallmark of her work of the last ten or so years, the poetry of hers with which I¿m familiar. In addition to giving us glimpses and insights into nature, I have many times felt I discerned ¿life lessons¿ very subtly hinted at although perhaps sometimes this is something I bring to the poem rather than anything Mary Oliver intended. However, in this volume, the ¿life lessons¿ in these poems seem to be more overt as if she is now using these observations to help her cope with life as in other volumes she has been helping me cope with mine. She also deals with a wider range of topics in these selections than I have noticed before in her books, including poems that verge on the political and others that are more religious than she has been in the past. In the earlier volumes I have read, especially in Why I Wake Early, she has given me the feeling that she goes to nature for gaining strength and peace in her life and also for her spirituality. In Red Bird, especially, and less intensely in What Do We Know, I feel that in some way life has overwhelmed her and she is struggling to regain that peace from nature she used to have but she is also looking to God now as a source of either strength or comfort and is also being forced to confront what is happening in the world¿no longer able to separate it from her poetry. One possible cause of this change that she acknowledges is she is getting older¿reaching seventy and feeling that her time is getting shorter. I suspect from some of the poems in this volume that she is also dealing with a tremendous loss¿probably of a loved one either through death or separation. This is a powerful book and more personal than the previous work of hers that I¿ve read, even than What Do We Know, published in 2002 in which she gives us some personal glimpses of grief over the death of a beloved dog and also some looking beyond nature for spirituality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love mary oliver's new book. I saw her in person reading some of the new material, and it is great! no surprise, since all of her works are so inspiring.