When poet Mary Oliver died a couple of weeks ago, I suspect many readers responded much like I did: “Oh no!”
That’s an almost universal response when anyone we know well dies suddenly—and we are both surprised and crestfallen. If the deceased is just an acquaintance or a public figure whom we don’t know personally, our response tends to be more muted: “Gosh, that’s too bad.”
But Mary Oliver? “Oh, no!!”
Part of this, for those familiar with her work, has to do with the sheer fact that writers whom we enjoy and tend to go back to enter our brains and our consciousness and take up residence there like the very best virus. That rare kind that actually improves our health rather than decimates it.
These writers become like lifelong friends, with whom we carry on a dialogue of sorts...Read More