Mary Oliver is 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 has lived for many years on Cape Cod. Her extraordinary poetry is 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.
Swan, her twentieth volume, shows that, while we may be ‘made out of the dust of stars’, we are of the world she captures here so vividly: the acorn that hides within it an entire tree; the wings of the swan like the stretching light of the river; the frogs singing in the shallows; the mockingbird dancing in air. Swan is Oliver’s tribute to ‘the mortal way’ of desiring and living in the world, to which the poet is renowned for having always been ‘totally loyal’.
‘Cherished nature poet Oliver begins her twentieth collection by asking, “What can I say that I have not said before?” Then continues reporting on the wisdom she gleans in woods and on the beach, making each dispatch fresh and startling by way of the vitality of her encompassing vision and the fluidity and shine of her language’ – Donna Seaman, Booklist
‘These are life-enhancing and redemptive poems that coax the sublime from the subliminal’ – Sally Connolly, Poetry
‘Mary Oliver’s poetry is fine and deep; it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations’ – Stanley Kunitz
“Poems like ‘Some Questions You Might Ask,’ The Hermit Crab,’ ‘Wings,’ ‘Turtle,’ Roses, Late Summer’ take my breath away. What I feel is an immense gratitude that they are written, and that I can read them over and over. I think of Oliver as a fierce, uncompromising lyricist, a loyalist of the marshes. Hers is a voice we desperately need.”