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Translation and Literature, Jun 2018, vo. 27, No. 2 : pp. 279-284
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Official eBay for Charity listing Learn more Sale benefits a verified non-profit partner. Item specifics Condition: Good: A book that has been read but is in good condition. But an equal part is that she offers her readers a spiritual release that they might not have realized they were looking for. Oliver is an ecstatic poet in the vein of her idols, who include Shelley, Keats, and Whitman.
She tends to use nature as a springboard to the sacred, which is the beating heart of her work. Indeed, a number of the poems in this collection are explicitly formed as prayers, albeit unconventional ones.
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I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. She picked up the habit as a child in Maple Heights, Ohio, where she was born, in Walking the woods, with Whitman in her knapsack, was her escape from an unhappy home life: a sexually abusive father, a neglectful mother. It was in childhood as well that Oliver discovered both her belief in God and her skepticism about organized religion. But I was still probably more interested than many of the kids who did enter into the church.
Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself.
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Like Rumi, another of her models, Oliver seeks to combine the spiritual life with the concrete: an encounter with a deer, the kisses of a lover, even a deformed and stillborn kitten. In , the day after she graduated from high school, Oliver left home.
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On a whim, she decided to drive to Austerlitz, in upstate New York, to visit Steepletop, the estate of the late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. On a return visit to Austerlitz, in the late fifties, Oliver met the photographer Molly Malone Cook, ten years her senior. She did occasional stints of teaching elsewhere, but for the most part stayed unusually rooted to her home base. The Bay of Fundy? The Brooks Range? Early poems often depict her foraging for food, gathering mussels, clams, mushrooms, or berries.
In comparison, the human is self-conscious, cerebral, imperfect. Oliver can be an enticing celebrant of pure pleasure—in one poem she imagines herself, with a touch of eroticism, as a bear foraging for blackberries—but more often there is a moral to her poems. You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. I asked our patroness Dwina Gibb if she would say something at the Mt Haemus Gathering we held recently. It is the unquenchable thirst for Knowledge that excites the soul and surpasses class, colour and creed. It is beyond the mortal coil. Like music and poetry it transcends all the spheres and pulls us towards our origins.
Whether we search deep within our own meditations or explore the outer regions of space, the zest and enthusiasm is the same for both. The passion and love of learning is inspirational and a joyous experience for any child of awakening intelligence. The Muse is always inspiring, often archetypal and not necessarily corporeal, and may come in any guise at any time. The scholars and shamans of today who have honoured OBOD with their works and their alchemical knowledge of the marriage of science and wisdom have devoted precious spiritual time and energy to produce the Mount Haemus lectures for the past sixteen years.