Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver Biography

Mary Oliver (born September 10, 1935) is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times described her as "far and away, [America's] best-selling poet".

Mary Oliver was born to Edward William and Helen M. V. Oliver on September 10, 1935, in Maple Heights, Ohio, a semi-rural suburb of Cleveland. Her father was a social studies teacher and an athletics coach in the Cleveland public schools. She began writing poetry at the age of 14, and at 17 visited the home of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, in Austerlitz, upper New York state. She and Norma, the poet's sister, became friends, and Oliver "more or less lived there for the next six or seven years, running around the 800 acres like a child, helping Norma, or at least being company to her," and assisting with organizing the late poet's papers.

Mary Oliver Quotes

11 November 2014

Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life. It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.

Mary Oliver Comments

The Van Man 09 February 2018

slober slober slober slober

6 23 Reply
Olivia Leppard 12 June 2018


6 19 Reply
Tom Christofferson 30 May 2018

Looking for poem that begins with the line When death comes...

18 3 Reply
The Van Man 09 February 2018

Totally not a creep with a white van

2 18 Reply
Dorothea Sophia 20 July 2021

Mary Oliver's poetry is a god-send for me during Covid lockdown: she brings me back to earth in all its thereness beauty.

0 0 Reply
cbullard 18 April 2020

does anyone know the tittle of this poem? it is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world

0 0 Reply
Lee 05 May 2021

The name of the poem is 'Invitation'.

0 0 Reply
Audy Meadow Thistle 02 August 2019

Mary Oliver has a way of shaking us out of our cultural blindness to the natural world around us and startling us into seeing what has always been there but ignored. Her poems at best are powerful in that they include, not just a platitude of nature, but teeth and claws, the hunger, death and aliveness. Asking, how does this apply to your life?

3 0 Reply
oiuyt 16 May 2019


0 1 Reply
Steve Kerns 25 April 2019

RIP. She certainly is one of the most important English language poets of the late 20th, early 21st century.

3 0 Reply

The Best Poem Of Mary Oliver

A Dream Of Trees

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company.
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.

There is a thing in me still dreams of trees,
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.

I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?

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