Everyone who has ever thrilled to the beauty and thematic bounty of Mary Oliver's poetry will want to click and purchase this first-ever recording of the poet reading her own work. Just remember how you felt the first time you heard the opening line of "Wild Geese": "You do not have to be good." Or this assertion from "When Death Comes": "When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement."
Oliver's sense of wonder, her keen attention to and deep appreciation of the natural world, and her simple, clear and elegant style make her a favorite of spiritual seekers around the globe. We had the great pleasure of hearing Oliver read her poetry in January at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Remembering how moved we were that evening, we listened with rapt attention to this audio on which she reads 40 poems.
Mary Oliver has published fifteen volumes of poetry and five books of prose in four decades. With At Blackwater Pond, she gives her many fans what they have not had before, a recording of her reading her poems. The selections span her career from "Wild Geese" published in Dream Work in 1986 through "Hum" from New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 (2005). This clothbound audiobook has an additional treat a fifteen-page booklet with an original essay, "Performance Note," where Oliver states:
"Poetry is prayer, it is passion and story and music, it is beauty, comfort, it is agitation, declaration, it is thanksgiving. Some poems are radiant and oracular, some are quiet and full of tenderness, like a letter written to a friend. Often poetry is the gate to a new life. Or, sometimes, the restoration of an old world gone. It brings new thoughts or the welcome remembrance of old ones. It offers simple pleasure, complicated joy, and even, at times, healing. Poetry does not work for everyone, but works for the many who open themselves to it. As the world changes from the long winter into spring, and everything takes on a freshness and a spiritual meaning, just so poetry can quicken, enliven the interior world of the listener."
This is certainly true in our experience with Oliver's poetry. The audiobook also contains pictures of the author at Blackwater Pond and a full listing of the poems and their sources. A few of our favorites are "Beans," " The Swan," "Where Does the Temple Begin," "The Summer Day," "When Death Comes," and "The Lily." Listen and enjoy.