Another Gift from Mary Oliver- Blue Pastures

Posted by on August 25, 2013 in About Writers | 0 comments


by Christina Carson

Blue Pastures CoverI am not given to review books very often, partly because I don’t get to read as much as I would like, and partly because I’ve been around for a while, and it now takes a deeper order of thought to get my attention these days, a writer who makes me sit back, scratch my head and comment, “Wow, that’s fascinating.”

Having been a fan of Mary Oliver since the very first volume of her poetry I read a number of years ago, two Christmas’ back, I casually mentioned that what I would love for Christmas was one volume of everything she’d written to that point. There under the tree my wish was granted. And I have been picking up the various volumes, one-by-one ever since, each one like opening a new gift.

Mary Oliver is an extraordinary person, writer, and poet because of her interest and devotion to seeing the ordinary, the natural, the true vision of life, the one all around us that we too are meant to encounter purposefully, but rarely find time for. Enter Mary Oliver to give us all a hand. She has been growing in awareness her whole life, and we all benefit. I have always noticed that people who know what they are talking about can do so with mind-stunning brevity. Add to that Ms. Oliver’s expertise with the language, and there stands a talent among us that finds me grateful for every day I walk this earth along with her. This is a work of prose, not her usual fare of poetry, short essays on various topics that matter to her, ones she has explored with her intuitiveness rather than just intellect. I’m not going to tell you about any of them. How do you like that for a review? I’m not going to mention the first essay that knocked my socks off with its insight:

… Of this there can be no question—creative work requires a loyalty as complete as the loyalty of water to the force of gravity.
A person trudging through the wilderness of creation who does not know this—who does not swallow this—is lost.
He who does not crave the roofless place ‘eternity’ should stay home.

Nor will I mention her sand dabs…or maybe just these few:

~ Always remember—the speaker doesn’t do it. The words do it.

~ Look for verbs of muscle, adjectives of exactitude.

~ The idea must drive the words. When the words drive the idea,

it’s all floss and gloss, elaboration, air bubbles, dross, pomp, frump and strumpeting.


Trust me if you will, Blue Pastures will give you much more than a stick of grass to chew on.

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Thoughtful comments are always welcome!


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