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