The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays (Paperback)
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The Truro Bear and Other Adventures, a companion volume to Owls and Other Fantasies and Blue Iris, brings together ten new poems, thirty-five of Oliver's classic poems, and two essays all about mammals, insects, and reptiles. The award-winning poet considers beasts of all kinds: bears, snakes, spiders, porcupines, humpback whales, hermit crabs, and, of course, her beloved but disobedient little dog, Percy.
About the Author
A private person by nature, Mary Oliver (1935–2019) gave very few interviews over the years. Instead, she preferred to let her work speak for itself. And speak it has, for the past five decades, to countless readers. The New York Times recently acknowledged Mary Oliver as “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.” Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28; No Voyage and Other Poems, originally printed in the UK by Dent Press, was reissued in the United States in 1965 by Houghton Mifflin. Oliver has since published twenty books of poetry and six books of prose. As a young woman, Oliver studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College, but took no degree. She lived for several years at the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay in upper New York state, companion to the poet’s sister Norma Millay. It was there, in the late ’50s, that she met photographer Molly Malone Cook. For more than forty years, Cook and Oliver made their home together, largely in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they lived until Cook’s death in 2005. Over the course of her long and illustrious career, Oliver has received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She has also received the Shelley Memorial Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award; the Christopher Award and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light; the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems; a Lannan Foundation Literary Award; and the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence. Oliver’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays 1996, 1998, 2001; the Anchor Essay Annual 1998, as well as Orion, Onearth and other periodicals. Oliver was editor of Best American Essays 2009. Oliver’s books on the craft of poetry, A Poetry Handbook and Rules for the Dance, are used widely in writing programs. She is an acclaimed reader and has read in practically every state as well as other countries. She has led workshops at various colleges and universities, and held residencies at Case Western Reserve University, Bucknell University, University of Cincinnati, and Sweet Briar College. From 1995, for five years, she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Art Institute of Boston (1998), Dartmouth College (2007) and Tufts University (2008).
The pleasures that await the reader just discovering the work of the Pulitzer-prize-winning poet are those delivered by her previous 18 volumes: her keen eye for telling detail, the surprise of the unexpected and, most important, the authoritative voice that portrays our world as both ordinary and enchanted, full of natural beauty and supernatural holiness.—Angela O'Donnell, America magazine
"From the small, the curious, and the commonly overlooked—grasshoppers, snow crickets, and whelks, for example—to the wild and intimidating, like coyotes, and, of course, the possibly mythical bear that haunts the Truro woods, the natural world is made more real and dangerous and, yet, inexplicably inviting in these poems. . . . There is even a baker's dozen of poems about Percy, her dog, a lovable recurring character in her work. In all, this book is an affirmation."—Library Journal, starred review
"Mary Oliver ranks among the finest poets the English language has ever produced. . . . Her poetry is rigorous, beautiful, well written, and offers genuine insights into the natural world."—Eli Lehrer, The Weekly Standard
"Mary Oliver's poetry is fine and deep; it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations."—Stanley Kunitz
"Like Henry David Thoreau of Transcendentalist fame she is a naturalist whose attention to what used to be called the Book of Nature borders on both devotion and experimentation. Her poems . . . speak about the mysteries of mortality in a language that feels like home. . . . Mindfulness seems to be Oliver's métier, looking and listening her scientific method and contemplative practice."—Stephen Prothero, Search magazine