Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems Vol. 2 | Review

Genre: poetry


My thoughts

Rating out of five:


I like the individual collections I’ve read more (A thousand mornings, Upstream and even volume one of this one), because they are a better mix of varied subjects, so it doesn’t become too much nature all at once (I didn’t know that was even possible before this). These new and selected poems still gives a good direction in which to continue reading Mary Oliver’s poetry, as my favourite poems here seems to have been published around the same time and I will certainly look up those collection.

It’s still brilliant poems, with Mary Oliver’s usual focus on nature, landscape, animals, people, writing and love. I’ve collected my favourite ones in a document and there’s fifteen, which was way more than I expected. Oliver’s words just speak true, the observations are lovely to read and gradually thought-provoking at the same time.




When for too long I don’t go deep enough 

into the woods to see them, they begin to 

enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the 

pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life 

full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each 

animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches 

then lifts away from the ground. Unless you 

believe that heaven is very near, how will you 

find it? Their eyes are pools in which one 

would be content, on any summer afternoon, 

to swim away through the door of the world. 

Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven.

– Mary Oliver



I was sad all day, and why not.  There I was, books piled

on both sides of the table, paper stacked up, words

falling off my tongue.

The robins had been a long time singing, and now it

was beginning to rain.

What are we sure of?  Happiness isn’t a town on a map,

or an early arrival, or a job well done, but good work

ongoing.  Which is not likely to be the trifling around

with a poem.

Then it began raining hard, and the flowers in the yard

were full of lively fragrance.

You have had days like this, no doubt.  And wasn’t it

wonderful, finally, to leave the room?  Ah, what a


As for myself, I swung the door open.  And there was

the wordless, singing world.  And I ran for my life.

— Mary Oliver

4 thoughts on “Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems Vol. 2 | Review

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