A Thousand Mornings

I admit it: I’m even less qualified to review poetry than I am fiction novels. But I’ve never let that stop me before, so why start now? Despite the fact that I’m deeply romantic at heart and love poetry, and that Mary Oliver is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet with an impressive body of work to her name, I’d not read her before picking up this title. It was the title that attracted me—A Thousand Mornings—those three words seemed to hint at the magic of ordinary things, the small wonders, the everyday marvels we too often take for granted or fail to notice, and I was intrigued. Well, contrary to popular belief, sometimes you can tell a book by its cover. This little volume is full of small jewels, written in a spare and very approachable style. No long flowery phrasing here, no opaque symbolism to struggle through. Just clear observations and introspections born of long experience. Among my favorites I’d have to count Green, Green is My Sister’s House, and The Mockingbird. But none more so than The Poet Compares Human Nature to the Ocean From Which We Came. Listen to this…or, I guess, read this, or better yet, read it aloud:

“The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth,

it can lie down like silk breathing…”

It can lie down like silk breathing…is that a great line or what? Everyone should have at least one Pulitzer Prize winning poet on their book shelf—you never know when it will impress the hell out of someone—might as well make it Mary Oliver.