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WATCH: Mary Oliver Reads from A Thousand Mornings


On the evening of October 15, 2012, the 92nd Street Y in New York City became a sanctuary of poetic grace as Mary Oliver, one of America's most beloved poets, shared her profound connection with the natural world and the intricacies of human experience through her readings from "A Thousand Mornings". This book of poetry, like much of Oliver's work, invites readers into a space of reflection and reverence for the simple, often overlooked aspects of life.



Mary Oliver (1935-2019) was a poet whose work is celebrated for its clear and poignant articulations of the natural world. Her poetry is marked by a keen attention to the minute details of the natural landscape and a deep, almost spiritual appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living things. Oliver's contributions to American literature were recognized with numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984 for "American Primitive" and the National Book Award in 1992. Oliver's writing encourages a pause, a moment to look around and see the beauty and complexity of the world that surrounds us.


"A Thousand Mornings" continues Oliver's exploration of nature and humanity's place within it. The collection reveals the author's contemplation on themes of existence, identity, and the passage of time, all while celebrating the mundane yet miraculous elements of daily life. Her poetry in this book, as in her entire body of work, is both a balm and a beacon, calling readers to a deeper awareness of the preciousness of life and the importance of paying attention.


The reading at the 92nd Street Y was not just an event; it was an experience, a shared journey led by Oliver's voice into the heart of what it means to be alive. Her words, imbued with the weight of wisdom and the lightness of joy, resonated with an audience hanging on to her every word, reflecting the universal truths found in her poems. Oliver's readings offered not just a glimpse into her world, but an invitation to explore the depth of our own internal landscapes, to question, to marvel, and to connect with the world in a more meaningful way.


The evening was profound not only for the depth of poetry shared, but for the presence of Mary Oliver herself. In her soft yet deliberate delivery, each poem became a living entity, a shared breath between the poet and her audience. The event at the 92nd Street Y underscored Oliver's belief in the power of words to transform, heal, and unite. It was a reminder of the quiet, steady force of nature and the human heart, themes ever-present in "A Thousand Mornings" and throughout Oliver's work.


In reflecting on that memorable night, we are reminded of Oliver's enduring legacy as a poet who mastered the art of observing and articulating the world in ways that continue to move and inspire. Mary Oliver's reading at the 92nd Street Y was more than a literary event; it was a profound communal experience that echoed the timeless resonance of her poetry, leaving an indelible mark on all who had the privilege to listen and be transformed by her words.

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