If I were organized, or if I were to try and become organized, I would bookend my ever-expanding poetry collection with Mary Oliver and Billy Collins.
Each poet, each of them American (coincidently), represents dedication to the craft of poetry.
Both poets present captivating, assessable, relevant words that confront and comfort life in a manner we can all understand.
Few poets can consistently capture a range of emotion without overstepping the bounds.
Oliver died this week from lymphoma. There was an immediate sadness felt world-wide, and expressed so openly on social and traditional media, in coffee shops and bookstores.
The Pulitzer prize-winning writer was, indeed, among my favorites, and will remain such. She now becomes one of those dead poets we will read a little deeper as she has gone from reminding us of the times we live in, to being a reminder.
There is history in poetry, a truth and accuracy you don’t find in encyclopedias.
Oliver’s skill was obvious and incomparable, though I can’t help but measure her words to other writers that totally capture my imagination.
Oliver wrote poems more emotionally resplendent than Emily Dickinson, with the breadth of situation and circumstance of Dorianne Laux, though more diligently compact. Her obvious respect for nature was of the magnitude of William Wordsworth. Wordsworth wrote as he saw; Oliver, how she felt.
Mary Oliver wrote as she lived, and she lived for us all.
We have been blessed.