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UPSTREAM: A Book of Selected Essays ~Mary Oliver

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Mary Oliver beloved poet takes a look at the beauty of the natural world and offers the reader an opportunity to investigate the mysteries and bounties of the world and the world of literature.  UPSTREAM could be a series of lectures that as one reads takes you down the paths her feet have taken and dazzles the senses with the whole adventure.

UPSTREAM is prose with poetic license and glorious word descriptions, which allows the reader to understand life through the experience and to understand how Oliver’s life developed and her worldview was enhanced by the glories of earth and walking through.

UPSTREAM is a meditation on the books and experiences that allowed a child to grow and become; forcing a life to create on it’s own strength, knowledge and power.

“UPSTREAM follows Oliver as she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, her boundless curiosity for the flora and fauna that surround her, and the responsibility she has inherited from Shelley, Wordsworth, Emerson, Poe, and Frost, the great thinkers and writers of the past, to live thoughtfully and intelligently, and to observe with passion.  Oliver positions not just herself upstream, but us as well, as she encourages us to keep moving, to lose ourselves in the awe of the unknown, and to give power and time to the creative and whimsical urges that live within us.” (Book Cover)

UPSTREAM is a memoir of the child to the learner, to the writer, to the poet, and to the teacher we so admire and study.

UPSTREAM is a book I purchased for my own library to read, contemplate and enjoy for many years to come.  I wanted to share it with you because it means so very much to me.

“Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-eight.  Over the course of her long career, she has received numerous awards.  Her fourth book, AMERICAN PRIMITIVE, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984.  She has led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching.  Oliver currently lives in Florida”   (Book Cover)

Mary Oliver Wikipedia
Mary Oliver Facebook
On Being Interview with Mary Oliver entitled “Listening to the World”

Related:
All the News I Need
Night Ringing
A Tale For The Time Being

Reading Poems of Love

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Love Poems or poems of ecstatic delight, they are like sunshine for the soul.  I read a poem nearly every day .  I have returned to works by Mary Oliver already a number of times this year as I love to touch the earth and her wisdom.  For this February, I am working through Kabir: Ecstatic Poems by Kabir and Robert Bly.

Oh to drench oneself with the words of love and of the writer’s passion, which has survived since the 15th century, and then to have Bly create a more accessible text is just fulfilling.

I wanted to share several of his poems that have truly infused me with a celebration of love.

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think…and think…while you are alive.
What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
Do you think
Ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
Just because the body is rotten –
That is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
You will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
You will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this:  When the Guest is being searched for,
It is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
Does all the work
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

Robert Bly is an award winning poet, translator and writer. Bly has been a leader in the ‘expressive men’s movement’ and has been described as a change artist.  Literary critic Charles Molesworth says of him, “writes religious meditations for a public that is no longer ostensibly religious.”   Bly has a new book of poetry out in 2011 called: Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey.

I know the sound of the ecstatic flute,
But I don’t know whose flute it is.
A lamp burns and has neither wick nor oil.
A lily pad blossoms and is not attached to the bottom!
When one flower opens, ordinarily dozens open.
The moon bird’s head is filled with nothing but
Thoughts of the moon,
And when the next rain will come is all that the rain bird things of.
Who is it we spend our entire life loving?

So who is it we spend our whole life loving?  What are we seeking? Who is the guest?  Do you have a favorite poem?  Love poem or quote?


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No one paid or promoted this book to me.  It is from my own collection.


Related Reading:
Love Poem to a Glorious Morning
Mending Fences
Inspiration from Walt Whitman
Lessons