Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
Mary Oliver was one of America’s best-loved poets. Her luminous poetry celebrates nature and beauty, love and the spirit, silence and wonder, extending the visionary American tradition of Whitman, Emerson, Frost and Emily Dickinson.
The winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, she lived for many years on Cape Cod. Her extraordinary poetry was nourished by her intimate knowledge and minute daily observation of the New England coast, its woods and ponds, its birds and animals, plants and trees.
In her new collection, Evidence, Mary Oliver delves even deeper than she has in the past into the mysteries of life, love and death. Exploring the evidence presented to us daily by the natural world, Oliver offers poems of arresting beauty and insight, inspired by Wordsworth’s lines: ‘To me the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.’ Never shy of letting the power of an image lie in unadorned language, Oliver’s work here reflects on the power of love and the great gifts of the natural world. In ‘There Are a Lot of Mockingbirds in This Book’ she writes:
but this isn’t nature
where the sweetest things,
being hidden in leaves
and thorn-thick bushes
reveal themselves rarely –
this is a book
of the heart’s rapture,
of hearing and praising…
‘These are life-enhancing and redemptive poems that coax the sublime from the subliminal’ – Sally Connolly, Poetry
North America: Beacon Press