Thirst by Mary Oliver


by Mary Oliver


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Thirst, a collection of forty-three new poems from Pulitzer Prize-winner Mary Oliver, introduces two new directions in the poet's work. Grappling with grief at the death of her beloved partner of over forty years, she strives to experience sorrow as a path to spiritual progress, grief as part of loving and not its end. And within these pages she chronicles for the first time her discovery of faith, without abandoning the love of the physical world that has been a hallmark of her work for four decades. In three stunning long poems, Mary Oliver explores the dimensions and tests the parameters of religious doctrine, asking of being good, for example, "To what purpose? / Hope of Heaven? Not that. But to enter / the other kingdom: grace, and imagination, / and the multiple sympathies: to be as a leaf, a rose, / a dolphin..."
"Mary Oliver moves by instinct, faith, and determination. She is among out finest poets, and still growing." --Alicia Ostriker, The Nation
"These are life-enhancing and redemptive poems that coax the sublime from the subliminal." --Sally Connolly, Poetry
"It has always seemed, across her 15 books of poetry, five of prose and several essays and chapbooks, that Mary Oliver might leave us at any minute. Even a 1984 Pulitzer Prize couldn't pin her to the ground. She'd change quietly into a heron or a bear and fly or walk on forever. Her poems contain windows, doors, transformations, hints on how to escape the body; there's the 'glamour of death' and the 'life after the earth-life.' This urge to be transformed is yoked to a joy in this moment, this life, this body. 'Every day I walk out into the world / to be dazzled, then to be reflective, ' she writes in 'Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond.' 'I think there isn't anything in this world I don't / admire, ' she writes in 'Hum'...The new poems teem with creation: ravens, bees, hawks, box turtles, bears. The landscape is Thoreauvian: ponds, marsh, grass and cattails; New England's 'salt brightness'; and fields in 'pale twilight.'" --Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
"Books of poetry, unless they're written by someone like Jewel, rarely make the Times best-seller list. The Web site, however, prints a weekly poetry list, with numbers from Nielsen BookScan. As this issue was going to press, Mary Oliver had each of the top three spots with her books "Thirst," "Why I Wake Early: New Poems" and "New and Selected Poems: Volume One." --New York Times Book Review, Inside the List Column, December 3rd issue
"I think of Oliver as a fierce, uncompromising lyricist, a loyalist of the marshes. Hers is a voice we desperately need." --Maxine Kumin, Women's Review of Books
"'My work is loving the world.' That first line of 'Messenger, ' the first poem in Mary Oliver's new collection Thirst (Beacon Press), names what she does better than any other poet writing today. Just as Joan Didion's memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, which had a similar 'occasion, ' was arguably her best work ever, so is Thirst Oliver's." --Bay Area Reporter, review in the January 11th issue
"Only an exceptionally skilled poet can handle the delicate balance of emotionalism and finely crafted turns of phrase needed to address the deep pain of losing a loved one. Fortunately, Pulitzer Prize-winning lesbian writer Mary Oliver is such a poet." --New York Blade, review in the January 19th issue
..".at 71 she is, far and away, this country's best selling poet. According to the list on, the top fifteen bestselling poetry volumes in America as of mid-January include no fewer than five Mary Oliver titles, all published by Beacon Press of Boston." --Dwight Garner
"'My work is loving the world, ' Oliver tells us....She has always done that poems of considerable beauty. Now she rises, not above the world, but through it." --Jay Parini, The Guardian, 10/6/2007
"Mary Oliver is, to my mind, one of the most gifted American poets workingg in English today. In her hands, the language acquires a lucidity approaching translucence; the accuracy of her vision and the precision of her voice are unique in their refreshing simplicity. Perhaps most singular is the tendency of her poems to be at once powerful and appealing; an affection for the natural world and a sympathy toward the reader abide." --Katherine Hollander, Pleiades, Fall 2007
Mary Oliver, the winner of numerous prizes, is one of the most celebrated and best-selling poets in America. Her works include New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (Beacon / ISBN-10: 0-8070-6886-1 / ISBN-13/EAN: 978-0-8070-6886-1 / $24.95 cl) and At Blackwater Pond (Beacon / ISBN-10: 0-8070-0700-5 / ISBN-13/EAN: 978-0-8070-0700-6 / $19.95 audio). She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Weight: 0.70 lbs

ISBN-10: 0807068969

ISBN-13: 9780807068960

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