Upstream by Mary Oliver | Book Review

Genre: essays, poetry



“I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someoone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.”


I’ve only recently fallen in love with Mary Oliver’s writing and poems. Upstream is a collection of eighteen lovely essays about how Oliver fell in love with poetry as a child, drawing inspiration from nature and simply seeing things throught her eyes. She talks about the poets she likes; Whitman, Emerson, Poe and Wordsworth, and how they’ve contributed to her understanding of the world and of poetry as an art. It’s all incredibly fascinating, I especially loved the bit about Poe.


It’s a book for someone who is interested in poetry (you don’t even have to know a lot, just look at me) or have read and liked any of Mary Oliver’s poetry. There’s a few good lessons in here, but also a lot of beautiful writing. I still prefer her poems, but I would definitely say these essays gives more insight into her thoughtprocess and person. The cozy, calm feeling I got when I looked at the cover was the same feeling I got when I read the texts inside.

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