Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver
A New York Times Bestseller, chosen as Oprah's "Books That Help Me Through" for Oprah's Book Club
“No matter where one starts reading, Devotions offers much to love, from Oliver's exuberant dog poems to selections from the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive, and Dream Work, one of her exceptional collections. Perhaps more important, the luminous writing provides respite from our crazy world and demonstrates how mindfulness can define and transform a life, moment by moment, poem by poem.” —The Washington Post
“It’s as if the poet herself has sidled beside the reader and pointed us to the poems she considers most worthy of deep consideration.” —Chicago Tribune
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver presents a personal selection of her best work in this definitive collection spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career.
Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all living things. Identified as "far and away, this country's best selling poet" by Dwight Garner, she now returns with a stunning and definitive collection of her writing from the last fifty years.
Carefully curated, these 200 plus poems feature Oliver's work from her very first book of poetry, No Voyage and Other Poems, published in 1963 at the age of 28, through her most recent collection, Felicity, published in 2015. This timeless volume, arranged by Oliver herself, showcases the beloved poet at her edifying best. Within these pages, she provides us with an extraordinary and invaluable collection of her passionate, perceptive, and much-treasured observations of the natural world.
Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She died in 2019.
Another way that people around me have been able to get through this time is through introspection and meditation on the self, as well as by focusing on how each of us fits into the ever-changing world. I’ve always found Mary Oliver’s words resonate strongly with me in that sense. Checking in with yourself and those around you on a deeper level is extremely important right now, and could help us all come out of this in one piece - or maybe even a little stronger. My personal favorites from Devotions include “Wild Geese” and “Evidence,” but given the emotional nature of poetry, different things tend to speak to each of us in varied ways. Give it a try!