Encountering Silence
Celebrating Mary Oliver (Episode 49)
January 27, 2019
"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?" asks Mary Oliver, who recently died at the age of 83.
"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?" asks Mary Oliver in  her poem "The Summer Day." On January 17, 2019, her many fans — including the co-hosts of this podcast — discovered just how real this question was, as we reeled from the news of Oliver's death at the age of 83. Even before the podcast was launched in late 2017, Mary Oliver was on our dream list of persons we would like to interview. The word on the street was that she rarely gave interviews, but we remained optimistic, periodically sending her requests in the hope that one day she would say yes. Even as recently as our 2018 End of Year Episode, we confessed that Oliver was the one person we most wanted to interview. Less than three weeks after that episode was released, Oliver passed away due to lymphoma. Well — we may not have fulfilled our dream of interviewing Mary Oliver, but we did the next best thing: in today's episode we reflect together on our shared love for this most popular of contemporary poets — from Cassidy, who has loved Oliver's work for years, to Carl, who began reading Oliver because of Cassidy's and Kevin's love for her work. While poetry has become an increasingly important theme of this podcast, we remain devoted primarily to a conversation about silence, so naturally this episode includes some thoughts on the most mysterious silence of all: the silence of death. The poems we mention on this episode include: "The Summer Day" from House of Light "Wild Geese" from Dream Work "Moments" from Felicity "What I Said at Her Service" from Thirst "Whistling Swans" from Felicity "Gethsemane" from Thirst "One or Two Things" from Dream Work "The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac" from Blue Horses "In Blackwater Woods" from American Primitive Among the many books we love by Mary Oliver: Mary Oliver, No Voyage and Other Poems Mary Oliver, The River Styx, Ohio, and Other Poems Mary Oliver, The Night Traveler Mary Oliver, Twelve Moons Mary Oliver, American Primitive Mary Oliver, Dream Work Mary Oliver, House of Light Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook Mary Oliver, White Pine: Poems and Prose Poems Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures Mary Oliver, West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems Mary Oliver, Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse Mary Oliver, Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems Mary Oliver, The Leaf and the Cloud Mary Oliver, What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays Mary Oliver, Blue Iris: Poems and Essays Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early: New Poems Mary Oliver, At Blackwater Pond: Mary Oliver Reads Mary Oliver Mary Oliver, Thirst Mary Oliver, Our World with photographs by Molly Malone Cook Mary Oliver, Red Bird Mary Oliver, The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays Mary Oliver, Evidence Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings: Poems Mary Oliver, Dog Songs Mary Oliver, Blue Horses Mary Oliver, Felicity Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays Mary Oliver, Devotions: The Selected Poems Kevin also mentioned the Buddhist poet Jane Hirshfield, author of Nine Gates: Entering the MInd of Poetry. Episode 49: Celebrating the Life and Poetry of Mary Oliver Hosted by: Cassidy Hall With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson Date Recorded: January 21, 2019