Remembering Mary Oliver

Our poetry editor Lesleigh Forsyth has written a remembrance of Mary Oliver, who recently passed away at age 83.

This poem, which brings tears to my eyes, even after the thirty years since I first read it, was the first inkling I had that I wanted to write poems. It combined simplicity, clarity, and beautiful language with profound experience. For me, it captured an emotion and a sense of the spiritual that was beyond words. I soon learned how difficult it was to achieve those qualities of Mary Oliver’s poetry that I so admired. Some years later, I met her. We spoke after a reading, and I told her how much the poem had meant to me. A few days ago, when I learned of her death, I opened the book to reread ‘The Pinewoods.’ What a gift to remember that she had signed it for me.”

Photo credit: Molly Malone Cook

Photo credit: Molly Malone Cook