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We want to celebrate the life a recently deceased Legendary Weirdo, Mary Oliver. While certainly one of the most famous American poets, winning the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award among many others, we consider Oliver to be a legendary creative mind, a MossyBrain matriarch.
Mary had a difficult childhood. Because of that, nature became a safe haven. She would retreat into the nearby woods, build huts, and write poems. That relationship with nature continued as an adult. She was known for taking long, meandering walks every day, and the influence of the natural world is prominent in her poems.
Her poetry combines spirituality and an adoration of nature. Her poems are simple, easy to understand, yet profound. She told NPR, “Poetry, to be understood, must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now, they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary should not be in the poem.”
That accessibility certainly contributed to her popularity, and her influence on the modern poetic landscape. She was famously reclusive and humble, not enjoying the limelight and avoiding interviews. One gets the impression that she was unapologetically herself, flawed and messy. She did not need to be impressive, she was uncomfortable with fame and glory. She seemed to write for the sake of writing.
In one of her most famous poems, Wild Geese, we find a MossyBrain mantra:
“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
Mary Oliver shows us how the world can offer itself to our imaginations in the seemingly mundane- on a morning walk, watching the ocean waves roll in or leaves rustling in the wind. Our world is a wondrous place- may we all find the courage of curiosity to breathe in the beauty surrounding us.
“When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”
-Excerpt from When Death Comes
Take some time to dig deeper into Mary Oliver’s collected works. Below are some of her most popular collections- click the Amazon links or check them out from your local library. You won’t be disappointed!
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