Mary Oliver has been writing poetry for nearly five decades, and in that time she has become America's foremost poetic voice on our experience of the physical world. This collection presents forty-two new poems-an entire volume in itself-along with works chosen by Oliver from six of the books she has published since New and Selected Poems, Volume One.
Following by 13 years her National Book Award winning New and Selected Volume One, this big and very quotable collection offers more of what Oliver's fans revere: optimistic, clear and lyrical explorations of varying ecosystems, (especially the birds, mammals, ponds and forests of the northeastern U.S.) mingled with rapt self-questioning, consolation and spiritual claims some might call prayers. One of the 42 new poems watches ravens on a "morning of green tenderness and/ rain"; others describe a mockingbird, a white heron, an obedient dog, tiger lilies, deer, terns, blueberry fields on Cape Cod (where Oliver lives) and a "Mountain Lion on East Hill Road," glimpsed just "once, years ago." Poems reprinted from six earlier books (beginning with 1994's White Pine) broaden the focus to insect life, to weather and the seasons ("I have talked with the faint clouds in the sky") and to other parts of the U.S.; while most poems use a mellifluous free verse, some choose the simplicities of prose, a form best achieved in Winter Hours (1999).