Mary Oliver Poems

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Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver was born on September 10, 1935, in Maple Heights, Ohio. As a teenager, she lived for a brief while in the home of the deceased Edna St. Vincent Millay, where she helped Millay's sister Norma organize the papers Millay left behind. She briefly attended both the Ohio State University and Vassar College in the mid-1950s but did not receive a degree. She has resided in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for more than forty years. A lesbian,[1] her partner Molly Malone Cook served as Oliver's literary agent until her death in 2005. An intense and joyful observer of the natural world, Oliver is often compared to Whitman and Thoreau. Her poems are filled with imagery from her daily walks near her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts: shore birds, water snakes, the phases of the moon. Maxine Kumin calls Oliver "a patroller of wetlands in the same way that Thoreau was an inspector of snowstorms" and "an indefatigable guide to the natural world." Honors Oliver has received include the Lannan Literary Award for poetry (1998), the National Book Award for Poetry (1992) for her collection New and Selected Poems, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1984) for her collection American Primitive, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1980), and the Shelley Memorial Award (1969/70) of the Poetry Society of America.

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun... [read poem]
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