New and Selected Poems, Volume One of Mary Oliver
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When New and Selected Poems, Volume One was originally published in 1992, Mary Oliver was awarded the National Book Award. In the fourteen years since its initial appearance it has become one of the best-selling volumes of poetry in the country. This collection features thirty poems published only in this volume as well as selections from the poet's first eight books.
Mary Oliver's perceptive, brilliantly crafted poems about the natural landscape and the fundamental questions of life and death have won high praise from critics and readers alike. In "The Summer Day," she asks, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?" "Do you love this world?" she interrupts a poem about peonies to ask the reader. "Do you cherish your humble and silky life?" She makes us see the extraordinary in our everyday lives, how something as common as light can be "an invitation / to happiness, / and that happiness, / when it's done right, / is a kind of holiness, / palpable and redemptive." She illuminates how a near miss with an alligator can be the catalyst for seeing the world "as if for the second time/the way it really is." Oliver's passionate demonstrations of delight are powerful reminders of the bond between every individual, all living things, and the natural world.