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The winner of numerous literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Oliver (American Primitive) writes intimately about nature in its smallest and liveliest details. Using clear, precise language and imagery rich with earthy colors, she shows that nature's many inhabitants are the authors of exciting but unfinished stories that intersect with one another, displaying a deep connection: "Now I am here, later I will be there/ I will be that small cloud, staring down at the water/ the one that stalls, that lifts its white legs, that/ looks like a lamb." The poems read like anecdotes, lyrical and wise, as Oliver embraces a way of seeing that renders the many aspects of the natural world in all their singularity. What results is a powerful sense of nature as a source of both solace and companionship. VERDICT Writing with grace, passion, and precision, Oliver delivers nature's throbbing beauty and vitality to all readers. Highly recommended.-Sadiq Alkoriji, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., FL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Beginning with her first poetry book in 1963, Oliver has chronicled her enthrallment to the living world, especially the land and sea surrounding Provincetown, Massachusetts, and her spiritual evolution. In her newest collection, her compact poems are conversational and teasing, yet their taproots reach deeply into the aquifers of religion, philosophy, and literature. Some read like brief fables, such as when an old fox compares their respective species and tells the poet, You fuss, we live. A Bob Dylan quote inspires a poem about song, while a mockingbird's mimicry elicits thoughts about authenticity and one's true self. The crucial and moving poem Hum, Hum describes a scarring childhood redeemed by the solace of the embracing, living world and the words of poets. Oliver is funny and renegade as she protests cultural vapidity, greed, violence, and environmental decimation and ravishing in her close readings of nature, such as the resplendent Tides, which surges like the sea. Ultimately, Oliver warns us that the only ship there is / is the ship we are all on / burning the world as we go. --Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist