In Blue Iris, Mary Oliver collects ten new poems, two dozen of her poems written over the last two decades, and two previously unpublished essays on the beauty and wonder of plants. The poet considers roses, of course, as well as poppies and peonies; lilies and morning glories; the thick-bodied black oak and the fragrant white pine; the tall sunflower and the slender bean.
“A thematic bouquet about plants and the creatures that live among them . . . Punctuated by illustrations derived from electronically scanned flower specimens, it is a handsome book filled with excellent work.” —Jay Rogoff, Southern Review
“Blue Iris fortuitously offers an extended sequence and new contexts for a writer whose precise eye and instinct for surprising images have made her one of the best practitioners of the lyrical revelation . . . Oliver continues to earn applause and admiration for continuing to provide redemptive meditation and supple praises for nature in a time when so much is under threat.” —R. T. Smith, Shenandoah
“A companion to Oliver’s recent Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays, this work presents poetry in free verse, which Oliver has perfected in all of its musicality and rhythm.” —Library Journal
“One of the astonishing aspects of Oliver’s work is the consistency of tone over this long period [of her career]. What changes is an increased focus on nature and an increased precision with language that has made her one of our very best poets . . . There is no complaint in Ms. Oliver’s poetry, no whining, but neither is there the sense that life is in any way easy . . . These poems sustain us rather than divert us. Although few poets have fewer human beings in their poems than Mary Oliver, it is ironic that few poets also go so far to help us forward.”
—Stephen Dobyns, New York Times Book Review