Today I’ve been reading the New and Selected Poems (V1) of Mary Oliver. She is an astonishing discovery to me, every syllable of her poetry just rings true. It’s beautiful but yet brutal, free but yet perfectly controlled and beyond all else optimistic and empowering. It’s given me a real lift.
For those who don’t know her (like me not long ago!) she’s become a poet most associated with the ecocentric movement which developed in the 1990’s, focussing her poetry on nature and our relation to it. She was writing such poetry decade before this however, and a key aspect to her popularity is her consistency in tone and content over many decades. She resisted the prevalent post-modernism of the late 20th century and has also been linked with the American movement transcendentalism which she calls back to from her modern context.
Some poems that have really touched me and I therefore recommend are:
‘When Death Comes’