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Long Life


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About the Author

Mary Oliver is the author of twenty books, including The Leaf and the Cloud and What Do We Know. Her many accolades include the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She lives in Massachusetts, USA.


Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oliver is best known for her collections of poetry (e.g., The Leaf and the Cloud). She is also the author of A Poetry Handbook, one of the quintessential tools of encouragement, advice, and direction for the budding poet. In this arresting anthology of 17 essays and ten poems, similar in style to Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, Oliver takes her time word painting charmingly simple yet deeply enduring pictures of interactions among women and men, animals, and nature. She appears to etch each line with ease, which is the stamp of the professional, pointing out that prose is the softened, fleshy story, while poetry remains the stark revelation in writing. Each word touches the next, forming a virtual symphony of visuals. Daily tasks become touching rituals that define who we are, while the mundane is made sparkling, sometimes sharp, and even shattering yet never dull or lost owing to repetition. Recommended for large public and academic poetry and literary collections. Kim Harris, Rochester P.L., NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Poets must read and study, but also they must learn to tilt and whisper, shout, or dance, each in his or her own way, or we might just as well copy the old books. But, no, that would never do, for always the new self swimming around in the old world feels itself uniquely verbal. And that is just the point: how the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That's the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. 'Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?' This book is my comment." From the Foreword of Long Life 'The gift of Oliver's poetry is that she communicates the beauty she finds in the world and makes it unforgettable...This has never been truer than in Long Life, a luminous collection of seventeen essays and ten poems. With consummate craftsmanship, Mary Oliver has created a breathtaking volume sure to add to her reputation as 'one of our very best poets'. New York Times Book Review"

"I would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place" writes Mary Oliver, "Yet each has its own force." Her Long Life: Essays and Other Writings intersperses a few verses among prose pieces as various as "Dog Talk," "Emerson: An Introduction" and "Where I Live." As "Sand Dabs, Nine" puts it, "The energy of attempt is greater than the surety of stasis." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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