Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Mary Oliver book club

I have not been in a book club since the late eighties.  I want to read what I want to read and nothing else.  Then last week, my friend Rosemary invited me into a group, who was reading The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem, by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver.  Who doesn't want to read Mary Oliver?  I began some of my classes with her poem, "The Journey."

 The Leaf and the Cloud is a small, book-length poem in seven parts.  We read one part each month, re-read it on the night we meet, taking turns. Then we discuss it.  After the discussion, we each read aloud a poem from one of her other books (she has many).

Oliver is known for her clear and poignant observances of the natural world.  She is an avid walker and much of her poetry is filled with imagery from her daily walks.

Here is a quote from "Wild Geese":

You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert,
You only have to let the soft animal of
your body
love what it loves . . . .
The world offers itself to your
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh
and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


  1. I do love enlightenment. Thank you. I shall now look into Mary Oliver. This is like a college class without the tuition.

  2. Wild Gees is one of my favourite poems. I always get a lump in. Y throat when I read that last line.

  3. the soft animal of your body... See, she's not afraid. She is not afraid to say it how she wants to say it. Thanks for introducing me to Mary Oliver. I wish I had a writing class from you!