Poetry Review: 5 Mary Oliver Collections

This post is a bit different from my usual ones because, in the past ten days or so, I’ve read five collections of poetry by Mary Oliver, which is all that we have in the stacks at work.  It feels kind of satisfying to have read everything your local library has of one author in its collection.  This of course isn’t all that Mary Oliver has written, but I feel like it’s a good overview.  So that’s why this is a sort of bulk review, which will mostly be quick snapshots of each book including my favorite poems from each.  They are ordered according to when I read them.

Title: West Wind
Author: Mary Oliver
Year: 1997
Pages: 80
Date Read: April 20, 2017
Format: Paperback
Genre: P
Rating: ★★★



Favorite Poems:

“Am I Not Among the Early Risers”


“That Sweet Flute John Clare”

“Forty Years”

“Rain, Tree, Thunder and Lightning”

Title: A Thousand Mornings
Author: Mary Oliver
Year: 2012
Pages: 82
Date Read: April 20, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre: P
Rating: ★★★




Favorite Poems:

“And Bob Dylan Too”

“Three Things to Remember”

“Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness”

“Blake Dying”

“Green, Green Is My Sister’s House”

“On Traveling to Beautiful Places”

“For I Will Consider My Dog Percy”

Title: Blue Horses
Author: Mary Oliver
Year: 2014
Pages: 79
Date Read: April 23, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre: P
Rating: ★★★★
*This one was my favorite.

Favorite Poems:

“First Yoga Lesson”

“I Don’t Want to Be Demure or Respectable”

“No Matter What”


“What We Want”

“Good Morning”

“It must be a great disappointment to God if we are not dazzled at least ten times a day.”

“Little Crazy Love Song”

“The Hummingbirds”

“Such Silence”


Title: Dog Songs
Author: Mary Oliver
Year: 2013
Pages: 121
Date Read: April 28, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre: P
Rating: ★★



Favorite Poem:

“Luke’s Junkyard Song”

Title: The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays
Author: Mary Oliver
Year: 2008
Pages: 80
Date Read: April 29, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre: P
Rating: ★★★





Favorite Poems:


“Coyote in the Dark, Coyotes Remembered”


“A Meeting”

Her child leaps among the flowers, / the blue of the sky falls over me // like silk, the flowers burn, and I want / to live my life all over again, to begin again, // to be utterly / wild.

“The Summer Day”

Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

After reading five collections of Mary Oliver in a row, I think I’ve had enough of poems about animals to last me for a while.  My biggest takeaway is that she occasionally has some beautiful lines that made me stop to repeat them over and over, which I think is one of the best things poetry can accomplish–to capture the pure beauty of words.


You can find Mary Oliver’s books in print at The Book Depository, on the Kindle at Amazon, or at your local library.

You can read more about it and find similar books on Goodreads.

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