Poetry, Reading Guides, VOLUME 10

Mary Oliver – Introductory Guide to Her Poetry


Introductory Guide to the Poems of
Mary Oliver
With Sample Poems

Compiled by Madeline Cramer




A prominent theme within Mary Oliver’s work is that of “attention.” As she says when interviewed by NPR’s Krista Tippet for the podcast On Being, “Attention is the beginning of devotion”- a process which she associates with stillness and empathy. Although it’s “easier to say than explain,” two of her most iconic poems “The Summer Day”and “Wild Geese” (Dream Work) doubtlessly embody it.

Listen to Mary Oliver reading “Wild Geese” aloud…



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IMAGE CREDIT: Molly Malone Cook, from the cover of New and Selected Poems, Volume One


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