Beacon Press: Books by Mary Oliver
Login Cart

Books by Mary Oliver

Recommended Reading In Books by Mary Oliver

House of Light
New and Selected Poems, Volume One
Why I Wake Early


Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver (1935–2019), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, is one of the most celebrated and best-selling poets in America. Her books include House of Light, Why I Wake Early, Thirst, Evidence, and New and Selected Poems, Volumes One and Two, as well as several books of prose, including Blue Pastures, Rules for the Dance, and Winter Hours.
Read more


New and Selected Poems, Volume One:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Copyright @ 1990 by Mary Oliver. First published in House of Light, Beacon Press. Reprinted in New and Selected Poems, Volume One and The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays, Beacon Press.

Read more