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Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver Paperback – November 10, 2020

4.9 out of 5 stars 4,712 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (Penguin), one of our most beloved writers offers both the best of her work and a spiritual road map of sorts. Spanning more than 50 years and featuring more than 200 poems, the collection shows Oliver, in the early years, turning away from grief and finding in nature a 'vast, incredible gift.' Over time, as she carefully observes and records, Oliver extols the beauty and complexity around her and reminds us of the interconnectedness of living. She also asks important questions, such as 'have you ever dared to be happy/ . . . have you ever dared to pray,' and 'Tell me, what it is you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?' Those lines resonate as much today as when she first penned them decades ago. No matter where one starts reading, Devotions offers much to love, from Oliver's exuberant dog poems to selections from the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive, and Dream Work, one of her exceptional collections. Perhaps more important, the luminous writing provides respite from our crazy world and demonstrates how mindfulness can define and transform a life, moment by moment, poem by poem.” —The Washington Post

“It’s as if the poet herself has sidled beside the reader and pointed us to the poems she considers most worthy of deep consideration.”Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She died in 2019.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Publishing Group; Reprint edition (November 10, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0399563261
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0399563263
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.49 x 0.96 x 8.44 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 4,712 ratings

About the author

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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.

Photo Credit: Rachel Giese Brown, 2009.

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
4,712 global ratings

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Le Samouraï
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Oliver RIP
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 20, 2019
21 people found this helpful
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ed
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart stoppingly beautiful poetry.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 4, 2019
13 people found this helpful
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D
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book with a collection of poems by Mary Oliver
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 5, 2018
15 people found this helpful
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Lucinda
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the layout of this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 24, 2018
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Lucinda
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the layout of this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 24, 2018
I am a devoted Mary Oliver fan who own most of her books. I enjoyed the layout of this book, and enjoyed re-reading poems I know and love, re-reading ones I have read before but had forgotten, and especially loved finding poems I'd never read before. Would totally recommend this collection.
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Tarot Scribe
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 12, 2019
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