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Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

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Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows, and, of course, the snowy owl; among a dozen others-including ten poems original to this volume. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, "Owls," selected for th Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows, and, of course, the snowy owl; among a dozen others-including ten poems original to this volume. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, "Owls," selected for the Best American Essays series, and "Bird," one that will surely take its place among the classics of the genre.


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Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows, and, of course, the snowy owl; among a dozen others-including ten poems original to this volume. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, "Owls," selected for th Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows, and, of course, the snowy owl; among a dozen others-including ten poems original to this volume. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, "Owls," selected for the Best American Essays series, and "Bird," one that will surely take its place among the classics of the genre.

30 review for Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caterina

    These poems are like random treasures that a faraway friend has collected over the years, assembled into a care package, and flown to you by old-fashioned postal mail. You dip into the box, and one by one unwrap them, anticipating delight. Some are whimsical, some intense, some meditative. All are infused with love. All are about birds in the wild --owls and great blue herons and loons, a flicker, a kingfisher and many others. Interspersed with the poems are exquisite, finely detailed drawings o These poems are like random treasures that a faraway friend has collected over the years, assembled into a care package, and flown to you by old-fashioned postal mail. You dip into the box, and one by one unwrap them, anticipating delight. Some are whimsical, some intense, some meditative. All are infused with love. All are about birds in the wild --owls and great blue herons and loons, a flicker, a kingfisher and many others. Interspersed with the poems are exquisite, finely detailed drawings of feathers from different species. They appear from their delicacy to be pencil drawings but may be some kind of delicate etching. I found no credit given to any artist anywhere in the book. Could the drawings also be Ms. Oliver's? They appear to be by a single hand. Owls and Other Fantasies was just the right title. Along with many years of close observation of wild birds in their habits and habitats reported with fresh turns of phrase, these poems are full of fantasies -- speculations on the birds’ interior lives and motivations, whimsical anthropomorphies into poets, philosophers, preachers -- and imaginations of death and life beyond. Owls — clearly the birds that most fascinate Ms. Oliver — appeared in at least two strong poems and an essay. In Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard His beak could open a bottle, and his eyes—when he lifts their soft lids— go on reading something just beyond your shoulder— Blake, maybe or the Book of Revelation. . . . it’s not size but surge that tells us when we’re in touch with something real, and when I hear him in the orchard fluttering down the little aluminum ladder of his scream— And in White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field like an angel or a buddha with wings, it was beautiful and accurate, striking the snow and whatever was there with a force that left the imprint of the tips of its wings— leaving Mary Oliver to speculate, in the bird’s aftermath: maybe death isn’t darkness after all, but so much light wrapping itself around us— as soft as feathers— that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking, and shut our eyes, not without amazement, and let ourselves be carried, as through the translucence of mica, to the river that is without the least dapple of shadow— that is nothing but light—scalding, aortal light— in which we are washed and washed out of our bones. I find a courage of freedom here, a release of imagination — this is not how we moderns are supposed to think of death — but why not? It's a sublime vision. On the other hand, at the center of this book is a powerful and sober essay about death that turns out to be about the great intensity of life in a dying creature. On a December morning, two year ago, I brought a young, injured black-backed gull home from the beach. It was, in fact, Christmas morning, as well as bitter cold, which may account for my act. Injured gulls are common: nature’s maw receives them again implacably; almost never is rescue justified by a return to health and freedom. And neither did this gull return to health and freedom — but for quite a long time, it regained strength and lived with Mary and her partner, all the while declining, to the point where, as a mercy We tried to kill him, with sleeping pills, but he only slept for a long time … then woke with his usual brightness. The bird lived on for months, withering yet playful -- And still the eyes were full of the spices of amusement. A straightforward recounting of the experience, this essay felt to me like an anchor at the center of the book’s swirl of fantasy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peycho Kanev

    He was, of course, a piece of the sky. His eyes said so. This is not fact, this is the other part of knowing something, when there is no proof, but neither is there any way toward disbelief. Imagine lifting the lid from a jar and finding it filled not with darkness but with light. Bird was like that. Startling, elegant, alive. But the day we knew must come did at last, and then the non-responsiveness of his eyes was terrible. It was late February when I came downstairs, as usual, before dawn. The He was, of course, a piece of the sky. His eyes said so. This is not fact, this is the other part of knowing something, when there is no proof, but neither is there any way toward disbelief. Imagine lifting the lid from a jar and finding it filled not with darkness but with light. Bird was like that. Startling, elegant, alive. But the day we knew must come did at last, and then the non-responsiveness of his eyes was terrible. It was late February when I came downstairs, as usual, before dawn. Then returned upstairs, to M. The sweep and play of the morning was just beginning, its tender colors reaching everywhere. “The little gull has died,” I said to M., as I lifted the shades to the morning light.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Александра Огнаноска

    What I'm leaving here is merely a glimpse of Mary Oliver's peaceful poetry. Nature is a well-known friend of hers. The birds and flowers, the pebbles and stones. Her message to go outside, to let ourselves feel, to pay attention to the natural world is both insightful and inspiring. Reminds me of Emily Dickinson's poems. 🌼 "Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond" As for life, I’m humbled, I’m without words sufficient to say how it has been hard as flint, and soft as a spring pond, both of the What I'm leaving here is merely a glimpse of Mary Oliver's peaceful poetry. Nature is a well-known friend of hers. The birds and flowers, the pebbles and stones. Her message to go outside, to let ourselves feel, to pay attention to the natural world is both insightful and inspiring. Reminds me of Emily Dickinson's poems. 🌼 "Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond" As for life, I’m humbled, I’m without words sufficient to say how it has been hard as flint, and soft as a spring pond, both of these and over and over, and long pale afternoons besides, and so many mysteries beautiful as eggs in a nest, still unhatched though warm and watched over by something I have never seen— a tree angel, perhaps, or a ghost of holiness. Every day I walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective. It suffices, it is all comfort— along with human love, dog love, water love, little-serpent love, sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds flying among the scarlet flowers. There is hardly time to think about stopping, and lying down at last to the long afterlife, to the tenderness yet to come, when time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever, and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves. As for death, I can’t wait to be the hummingbird, can you? She comments on virtues through the language of birds and flowers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maughn Gregory

    "Every day I walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective." She does, and she teaches us how to do both. Of the hawk, she writes: "this is not something of the red fire, this is heaven's fistful of death and destruction ..." And of the crow: "... who has seen anything cleaner, bolder, more gleaming, more certain of its philosophy than the eye he turns back?" To me she writes: "Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese "Every day I walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective." She does, and she teaches us how to do both. Of the hawk, she writes: "this is not something of the red fire, this is heaven's fistful of death and destruction ..." And of the crow: "... who has seen anything cleaner, bolder, more gleaming, more certain of its philosophy than the eye he turns back?" To me she writes: "Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-- over and over announcing your place in the family of things." And: "Listen, everyone has a chance. Is it spring, is it morning? Are there trees near you, and does your own soul need comforting? Quick, then--open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song may already be drifting away." And: "The catbrier is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." I'm off then, to do some of that good work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kalani

    Incredible. Mary Oliver brings us all back down to Earth with her work. I know I’ll be reading this year after year.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Book2Dragon

    What can I say? It's Mary Oliver, it's all birds and ponds and joy in life. Joy in spite of the spector of death, in spite of losing loved ones, in spite of a difficult past. Because all of those things are temporary and of the mind/body. But joy in life and nature is in the Spirit, and nothing can touch the spirit unless we allow it. Mary made the choice years ago not to allow it, and that has blessed all of us who read her poetry. I feel I have sat near her at the pond, on the shore and in the What can I say? It's Mary Oliver, it's all birds and ponds and joy in life. Joy in spite of the spector of death, in spite of losing loved ones, in spite of a difficult past. Because all of those things are temporary and of the mind/body. But joy in life and nature is in the Spirit, and nothing can touch the spirit unless we allow it. Mary made the choice years ago not to allow it, and that has blessed all of us who read her poetry. I feel I have sat near her at the pond, on the shore and in the woods. Reading her poems, I can hear the call and songs of the birds, feel the movement of air as wings brush by me, become part of what is eternal. We miss you Mary. "If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much."~~Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

  7. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen

    As mentioned in my review of Upstream, my interest in Mary Oliver's work was piqued by reading and analyzing the essay "Owls" in AP Lang (which also appears in this book). So much of the Poetry Reading Experience has to do with my mood — so although this didn't resonate with me as much as A Thousand Mornings , that could be due mostly or entirely to external factors rather than the poems and essays themselves. And I did still really enjoy this collection! As mentioned in my review of Upstream, my interest in Mary Oliver's work was piqued by reading and analyzing the essay "Owls" in AP Lang (which also appears in this book). So much of the Poetry Reading Experience has to do with my mood — so although this didn't resonate with me as much as A Thousand Mornings , that could be due mostly or entirely to external factors rather than the poems and essays themselves. And I did still really enjoy this collection!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Conlon

    Such a beautiful collection, about Oliver's connection with the birds in her life. Mary always makes me want to notice more, until I am full of knowing. Such a beautiful collection, about Oliver's connection with the birds in her life. Mary always makes me want to notice more, until I am full of knowing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Starlings in Winter Chunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers, they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they are acrobats in the freezing wind. And now, in the theater of air, they swing over buildings, dipping and rising; they float like one stippled star that opens, becomes for a moment fragmented, then closes again; and you watch and you try but you simply can't imagine how they do it with no articulated instruction, no pause, only the silent confirmation that they are this notable thing, Starlings in Winter Chunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers, they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they are acrobats in the freezing wind. And now, in the theater of air, they swing over buildings, dipping and rising; they float like one stippled star that opens, becomes for a moment fragmented, then closes again; and you watch and you try but you simply can't imagine how they do it with no articulated instruction, no pause, only the silent confirmation that they are this notable thing, this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin over and over again, full of gorgeous life. Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city. I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; I feel my boots trying to leave the ground, I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings. ———- Owls “…the owl has an insatiable craving for the taste of brains” “The world where the owl is endlessly hungry and endlessly in the hunt is the world in which I live too. There is only one world.” Bird “He was of course, a piece of the sky. His eyes said so. This is not fact, this is the other part of knowing something, when there is no proof, but neither is there anyway toward disbelief. Imagine lifting the lid from a jar and finding it filled not with darkness but with light. Bird was like that. Startling, elegant, alive.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Denny

    Poems and two essays about birds. This poet really knows how to turn a phrase. Never mind that he is only a memo from the offices of fear. I know this bird. If it could,it would eat the whole world.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eunice Moral

    Ultimate fave is the poem Wild Geese!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paige Cote

    Owls and Other Fantasies includes a selection of Mary Oliver's poems and two of her essays, and as the title suggests they are all themed around birds. As a bird lover, I greatly appreciated this topic, but I fully believe it is worth reading even if you aren't so bird-inclined. Her work is delicate and thoughtful, as well as thought-provoking. I picked out a few of my favorite poems that demonstrate what I enjoyed about the collection. The first poem is "Catbird". The reason I love this poem is Owls and Other Fantasies includes a selection of Mary Oliver's poems and two of her essays, and as the title suggests they are all themed around birds. As a bird lover, I greatly appreciated this topic, but I fully believe it is worth reading even if you aren't so bird-inclined. Her work is delicate and thoughtful, as well as thought-provoking. I picked out a few of my favorite poems that demonstrate what I enjoyed about the collection. The first poem is "Catbird". The reason I love this poem is because of the personification of the catbird. Many of the poems personify birds, however, this is my favorite of those that focus heavily on it. She contrasts the simple pleasures of the bird ( "But a few raisins give him the greatest delight." ) with the ideals of humans ( " Certainly he will never understand me, or the world / I come from. / For he will never sing for the kingdom of dollars. / For he will never grow pockets in his gray wings. ) in an interesting way. Many, if not all of the poems assign human traits to birds, which I think helps convey the personal connection she feels to them. The second is "Wrens". I appreciate this poem for its imagery. The poem begins by describing an overgrown field or garden with many flowers where some wrens have built a nest. For me, at least, the description conjured a vivid image in my imagination, and many of the other poems had this effect as well. It helps the reader transport themselves to the different little scenarios of each poem. My favorite lines from "Wren" are, "dust from the fox tracks among the / roots and risings of / buttercups joe pye honey / suckle the queen's / lace and her / blue sailors" The last poem I chose, and my absolute favorite from the book is "The Dipper". I love this poem for multiple reasons, one being the imagery. I could easily imagine the tranquil forest with the trickling stream that she described. I also liked how she talked about death in an almost peaceful, beautiful way when she said, " and, just as certainly, he has been sleeping for decades in the leaves beside the stream his crumble of white bones, his curl of flesh comfortable even so. " This is not the only time she does this, the idea of beauty in death comes up many times throughout the book, but this is (probably) my favorite instance. I like the poem for it's ending, which is; " and thus the world is full of leaves and feathers, and comfort, and instruction. I do not remember your name, great river, but since that hour I have lived simply, in the joy of the body as full and clear as falling water; the pleasures of the mind like a dark bird dipping in and out, tasting and singing." I appreciated this because it shows how we can learn how to live better from nature. There are also a couple of other lines from various poems that I wanted to mention: "I think this is / the prettiest world - so long as you don't mind / a little dying", from Kingfisher. "As for death, / I can't wait to be a hummingbird, / can you?" From Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond. "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." From Yes! No! As I said, I would absolutely recommend taking a look at this book, regardless of your level of bird enthusiasm. It opens your eyes to all the little, beautiful things in nature, and is very worth the read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    lizzie

    “whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” “i am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; i feel my boots trying to leave the ground, i feel my heart pumping hard. i want to think again of dangerous and noble things. i want to be light and frolicsome. i want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though i had wings.” “every day i walk “whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” “i am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; i feel my boots trying to leave the ground, i feel my heart pumping hard. i want to think again of dangerous and noble things. i want to be light and frolicsome. i want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though i had wings.” “every day i walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective. it suffices, it is all comfort- along with human love, dog love, water love, little-serpent love, sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds fying among the scarlet flowers. there is hardly time to think about stopping, and lying down at last to the long afterlife, to the tenderness yet to come, when time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever, and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves. as for death, i can't wait to be the hummingbird, can you?” mary oliver’s poetry makes me feel so warm and understood.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jane Glossil

    Such dazzling imagery. Mary Oliver's gift is to transport you to where she had been and what she had noticed. She lends you her eyes and her experience through her poetry. She wakes you from an emotionless slumber into the light of day, or in this book, to see life and death through the birds. - Had to read one today. Happy birthday, Mary Oliver! Such dazzling imagery. Mary Oliver's gift is to transport you to where she had been and what she had noticed. She lends you her eyes and her experience through her poetry. She wakes you from an emotionless slumber into the light of day, or in this book, to see life and death through the birds. - Had to read one today. Happy birthday, Mary Oliver!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deniss

    Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city. I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; I feel my boots trying to leave the ground, I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    every time i see a bird, i see mary oliver too. this book makes me so excited to be alive. there are so many birds i don't know and have never seen, but i know that i will begin to see and know them eventually — and on those days i'll return to this book and it'll be even more magical than it already is. every time i see a bird, i see mary oliver too. this book makes me so excited to be alive. there are so many birds i don't know and have never seen, but i know that i will begin to see and know them eventually — and on those days i'll return to this book and it'll be even more magical than it already is.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Astraea

    "you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves" !!!!!!! "you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves" !!!!!!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lada

    Mary Oliver--a follower of spirit animals, is my spirit animal. In this book, she muses on the feathered menagerie near her home [at that time]. When some equate owls with omens, she equates them with blood-lust and duty. A flying, clawed, downy vehicle of purposed living. The "other fantasies" within this slim volume include the dipping and rising starlings, and my favorite poem, about the Catbird. "For he will never sing for the kingdom of dollars. For he will never grow pockets in his gray win Mary Oliver--a follower of spirit animals, is my spirit animal. In this book, she muses on the feathered menagerie near her home [at that time]. When some equate owls with omens, she equates them with blood-lust and duty. A flying, clawed, downy vehicle of purposed living. The "other fantasies" within this slim volume include the dipping and rising starlings, and my favorite poem, about the Catbird. "For he will never sing for the kingdom of dollars. For he will never grow pockets in his gray wings."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jee Koh

    Somebody had the bright idea of collecting Mary Oliver's bird poems, and voila! Owls and Other Fantasies was born. 16 out of 25 poems (i.e. about a third of the book) came from earlier books, as did 1 of the 2 essays. The book is obviously targeted at birders and Mary Oliver's fans; its commercial considerations overshadow whatever aesthetic merit it has. The verse is best described as pandering. Its questions are obvious, its spirituality is tinselly, its consolations cheap. The first poem of th Somebody had the bright idea of collecting Mary Oliver's bird poems, and voila! Owls and Other Fantasies was born. 16 out of 25 poems (i.e. about a third of the book) came from earlier books, as did 1 of the 2 essays. The book is obviously targeted at birders and Mary Oliver's fans; its commercial considerations overshadow whatever aesthetic merit it has. The verse is best described as pandering. Its questions are obvious, its spirituality is tinselly, its consolations cheap. The first poem of the book begins: You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. I want to shout back, "But I want to be good! I want to walk on my knees through the desert! Who are you to tell me that I don't have to?" Certainly not someone who tempts me with such an easy way out as "the world offers itself to your imagination." The cliches abound, like birds, in this collection. The earlier poems offer glimpses of an earlier power. "The Swan," from House of Light (1990) is delicate and observant, though not without its clunkers. "Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard," from the same book, is half-in-love with death. These poems question nature as well as themselves. They do the real work of spiritual quest that the book only pretends to.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kerri Anne

    This collection found me during one of the toughest and most bittersweet weeks of this year, and like all good poetry (and nearly all of Oliver's poems), I'm so grateful for it. So many lines that sing like so many birds I love to watch fly. [Five stars for poems that will forever remind me of my connections to so many precious places, and that I'll forever connect with some of the most important people in my life.] This collection found me during one of the toughest and most bittersweet weeks of this year, and like all good poetry (and nearly all of Oliver's poems), I'm so grateful for it. So many lines that sing like so many birds I love to watch fly. [Five stars for poems that will forever remind me of my connections to so many precious places, and that I'll forever connect with some of the most important people in my life.]

  21. 5 out of 5

    David J

    I think you all already know how much I love Mary Oliver. These poems, and especially the essays, are wonderful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Barto

    Mary Oliver is a gentle lighthouse. Her curiosity and tender love for the world warmed me and brought me home.

  23. 4 out of 5

    fioo ! ♡ ∗ ˚ ˖࣪ ∗ ‎˖ ݁ . ° · ˚ ₊

    why? all this beauty around me and i never realized... it must be the highest secret of all and everyone wants to know, but it's just right here, this near. why? all this beauty around me and i never realized... it must be the highest secret of all and everyone wants to know, but it's just right here, this near.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nayyira

    “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” This is the first I read of Mary Oliver. I fell in love. I fell in love with Wild Geese, the first time I read it I cried, and every time I picked this up to continue reading, I'd read it from the beginning all over again. I read Wild Geese probably a dozen times. “I went to China, I went to Prague; I died, and was born in the spring; I found you, and loved you, again.” I have so much love for and kinship with this little collection. I fe “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” This is the first I read of Mary Oliver. I fell in love. I fell in love with Wild Geese, the first time I read it I cried, and every time I picked this up to continue reading, I'd read it from the beginning all over again. I read Wild Geese probably a dozen times. “I went to China, I went to Prague; I died, and was born in the spring; I found you, and loved you, again.” I have so much love for and kinship with this little collection. I feel it so much, I feel it in my heart. I know the words by heart. I read Bird, I was a blubbering mess. I couldn't stop crying. Almost everything in this found a way to my soul, and I know the rest will too, sometime else when I'm rereading this. “What misery to be afraid of death. What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Merkley

    Finishing this trim collection on the morning of New Year’s Day while sitting by the fire was an invocation. Oliver lives and writes in rapture, and reading her as a new year opens its eyes feels like a blessing for 2021. A blessing that I too might do what she does best: “pay attention...our endless and proper work.” That I might sing the praises of imagination as the home of purpose and allow something deep inside me to be plucked by a starling’s cry or a wounded wing. That I might cultivate t Finishing this trim collection on the morning of New Year’s Day while sitting by the fire was an invocation. Oliver lives and writes in rapture, and reading her as a new year opens its eyes feels like a blessing for 2021. A blessing that I too might do what she does best: “pay attention...our endless and proper work.” That I might sing the praises of imagination as the home of purpose and allow something deep inside me to be plucked by a starling’s cry or a wounded wing. That I might cultivate the devotion necessary to celebrate the grace and brutality of the natural world, its unknowability and vulnerability. A natural world, by the way, which includes every creeping thing and each of us, in the great “family of things.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolanne

    I'm grateful for reading this collection because it taught me that my love of nature in poetry has changed. There were a couple places where I wanted to put the book down, but I knew that if I did, I wouldn't want to pick it back up. Oliver's poems have always intrigued me, and I have loved the poems I have read from her in the past. My recent interest in owls led me to pick up this collection while I was in D.C., and while it didn't hold my interest the entire time, I still recognize the beauty I'm grateful for reading this collection because it taught me that my love of nature in poetry has changed. There were a couple places where I wanted to put the book down, but I knew that if I did, I wouldn't want to pick it back up. Oliver's poems have always intrigued me, and I have loved the poems I have read from her in the past. My recent interest in owls led me to pick up this collection while I was in D.C., and while it didn't hold my interest the entire time, I still recognize the beauty in her writing. I could see every creature she described, and was able to see the parallels with our world. "Bird" will stay with me for awhile. If you need a happy cry, make sure you read that one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paige Cuthbertson| Turning_Every_Paige

    I originally bought this because I enjoyed another poetry book of Oliver’s, and because I loved the title. I was delighted to find that various birds were actually the theme of this entire volume! I love birds. They’re my favorite creatures in general, so I found each poem to be perfectly lovely. But the poetry here somehow manages to be about life, death, art, beauty, and grief, even when on the surface it seems to be just a lovely description of one bird or another. It’s deep, and sweet, and t I originally bought this because I enjoyed another poetry book of Oliver’s, and because I loved the title. I was delighted to find that various birds were actually the theme of this entire volume! I love birds. They’re my favorite creatures in general, so I found each poem to be perfectly lovely. But the poetry here somehow manages to be about life, death, art, beauty, and grief, even when on the surface it seems to be just a lovely description of one bird or another. It’s deep, and sweet, and touching. This is certainly a new favorite, and I will be rereading it often. 5 ⭐️

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This lovely and breathtaking collection has made me realize that most of my favorite Oliver poems have been about birds. I don't think there was a single poem in here I didn't love, and there are many many old favorites. I love nearly all of her collections, but this may be my favorite. This lovely and breathtaking collection has made me realize that most of my favorite Oliver poems have been about birds. I don't think there was a single poem in here I didn't love, and there are many many old favorites. I love nearly all of her collections, but this may be my favorite.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Ford

    A few poems at night before bed...Mary Oliver is a master.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rowan

    One of my favorite poets, one of her favorite animals.

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