Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-three. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Hennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. Oliver died in January 2019.
Mary Oliver's poetry is fine and deep it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations. - Stanley KunitzThe gift of Oliver's poetry is that she communicates the beauty she finds in the world and makes it unforgettable. - Miami HeraldOliver's poems are thoroughly convincing - as genuine, moving and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring. - New York Times Book ReviewMary Oliver teaches us the profound act of paying attention - a living wonder that makes it possible to appreciate all the others. - Boston Globe