Posts Tagged ‘Block Island Poetry Project’

If I were a poet, I would go to Block Island this spring just to hear Mary Oliver. I really would.

Protective of the privacy necessary to her creative process, Oliver rarely gives readings, but she will be participating in the April 3 – May 4, 2008, Block Island Poetry Project. Also in the spring, Beacon Press will publish a collection of new Oliver poems. I may not be going to Block Island, but you know I’ll be reading Red Bird.

Red Bird by Mary Oliver

I first fell in love with Oliver’s poetry when I read “Wild Geese” with its stunning opening lines:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

Read the full poem here.

The clarity, fragility, and internal music of Oliver’s lines took my breath away. I own most of her collections now, and hers are the poems to which I return for soul-nourishment and centering. Her earlier poems worked around a fiery wound toward the reconciliation offered in poems like “Wild Geese.” I think that early fire has burned down now into a rare and quiet peace raised in her more recent work. I’m interested to see what Oliver does in Red Bird.

To learn more about my favorite poet, visit the following pages:

Poetry Foundation Bio

Academy of American Poets Bio

L.A. Times review of Oliver’s most recent work, Our World (photographs by Oliver’s late partner, Molly Malone Cook; text by Mary Oliver)

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