Monthly Archives April 2021

(Welcoming) Mary Oliver’s “Spring”

As this space reflected on upon her death just over two years ago, Mary Oliver was at once among our most celebrated and accessible poets. Oliver was (and remains) the darling of a certain kind of spiritually inclined nature lover who revels in the unfettered ecstasy of being in the great outdoors, often alone, breathing deeply of chill morning air, much more inclined to be gazing slack-jawed under a cathedral of trees than sitting in church pews. (And if it were the latter, it would have to be Unitarian Universalists or lefty Christians rather than Garrison Keillor-style Lutherans, and it would be the late service, after the morning’s tramp though the woods…)

Despite the imprimatur of a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and a National Book Award eight years later, Oliver had her critics. Her basic theme—“Oh, how I love this world, read this and get out there and love it, too!”—was expressed in rhapsodic-but-straig...

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