Book review: Evidence: Poems by Mary Oliver

evidence1Title: Evidence: Poems
Author: Mary Oliver
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Beacon Press
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Mary Oliver was a new poet to me when I received Evidence: Poems in the mail from the Goodreads First Reads program. Oliver reminds me of two of my favorite poets, Luci Shaw and Wendell Berry. Nature speaks to her and her love of nature infuses her poetry. The lessons Oliver learns in nature inform her view of life, love, death, and the world around her.

Unlike some modern poets, Oliver isn’t in love with her own pen, and she doesn’t use overly frilly or incomprehensible language – she simply expresses what she feels. I enjoyed most of the poems in this book very much, but as with any collection – whether it is poetry or short stories or essays – there were also some that just didn’t appeal to me. Reading poetry is a personal experience – what speaks to one reader may be completely different than what speaks to another. So even though I only rated it 3 stars, I still recommend this collection – especially for those who are looking to experience some modern poetry that is simply, yet beautifully written.

Here is one of my favorites:

Then Bluebird Sang

slipped a little tremble
out of the triangle
of his mouth

and it hung in the air
until it reached my ear
like a froth or a frill
that Schumann

might have written in a dream.
Dear morning
you come
with so many angels of mercy

so wondrously disguised
in feathers, in leaves,
in the tongues of stones,
in the restless waters,

in the creep and the click
and the rustle
that greet me wherever I go
with their joyful cry: I’m still here, alive!

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3 Responses to Book review: Evidence: Poems by Mary Oliver

  1. Pingback: BOOKS AND MOVIES » The Sunday Salon - May 10, 2009 (Happy Mother’s Day)

  2. I haven’t read much of Mary Oliver’s poetry, but what little I have read, I’ve loved. Your review has reminded me that I must get my hands on one of her books!

  3. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Avis – I will definitely be looking for more of her work.