Synopses & Reviews
"Joy is not made to be a crumb," writes Mary Oliver, and certainly joy abounds in her new book of poetry and prose poems. Swan
, her twentieth volume, shows us that, though we may be "made out of the dust of stars," we are of the world she captures here so vividly: the acorn that hides within it an entire tree; the wings of the swan like the stretching light of the river; the frogs singing in the shallows; the mockingbird dancing in air. Swan
is Oliver's tribute to "the mortal way" of desiring and living in the world, to which the poet is renowned for having always been "totally loyal."
As the Los Angeles Times noted, innumerable readers go to Oliver's poetry "for solace, regeneration and inspiration." Few poets express the immense complexities of human experience as skillfully, or capture so memorably the smallest nuances. Speaking, for example, of stones, she writes, "the little ones you can / hold in your hands, their heartbeats / so secret, so hidden it may take years / before, finally, you hear them." It is no wonder Oliver ranks, according to the Weekly Standard, "among the finest poets the English language has ever produced." From the Hardcover edition.
"One of the astonishing aspects of Oliver's work is the consistency of tone over this long period [of her career]. What changes is an increased focus on nature and an increased precision with language that has made her one of our very best poets." Stephen Dobyns, New York Times Book Review
"The music in Oliver's writing is unmistakable. Her poetry can be read as the best of the real lyrics we have these days, and it's no surprise that she's already won a Pulitzer for it, as well as many other honors." Los Angeles Times
"You can pick up pretty much any Mary Oliver collection and be thrilled, but Swan...is so piercing and penetrating that form seems to fall away, an unnecessary stage for the rocket." Brian Doyle, Christian Century
"Oliver reminds us of the mystery and necessity of poetry, whose source is, ultimately, the Creator." Angela O'Donnell, America
"This year the Top 5 [Indiebound poetry best sellers] can be summed up in six words: Mary Oliver, Mary Oliver, Mary Oliver. Oliver's impressive feat reflects both an enduring popularity and an unparalleled ability to touch readers on a deep, almost primal level. Elizabeth Lund,Christian Science Monitor
"Mary Oliver moves by instinct, faith, and determination. She is among our finest poets, and still growing." Alicia Ostriker, The Nation
“Joy is not made to be a crumb,” writes Mary Oliver, and certainly joy abounds in her new book of poetry and prose poems. Swan, her twentieth volume, shows us that, though we may be “made out of the dust of stars,” we are of the world she captures here so vividly. Swan is Oliver’s tribute to “the mortal way” of desiring and living in the world, to which the poet is renowned for having always been “totally loyal.”
About the Author
Mary Oliver, winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, was acknowledged by the New York Times Book Review as "far and away, this country's best selling poet." Her books of poetry include Evidence, Red Bird, Thirst, and New and Selected Poems, Volume One and Volume Two. She has recorded two audio books, At Blackwater Pond and Many Miles. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Hobe Sound, Florida.