Mary Oliver — Listening To The World


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Mary Oliver was one of our greatest and most beloved poets. She is often quoted by people across ages and backgrounds — and it’s fitting, since she described poetry as a sacred community ritual. “When you write a poem, you write it for anybody and everybody,” she said. Mary died on January 17, 2019, at the age of 83. She was a prolific and decorated poet, whose honors included the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In this 2015 conversation — one of the rare interviews she granted during her lifetime — she discussed the wisdom of the world, the salvation of poetry, and the life behind her writing. Mary Oliver published over 25 books of poetry and prose, including "Dream Work," "A Thousand Mornings," and "A Poetry Handbook." She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984 for her book "American Primitive." Her final work, "Devotions," is a curated collection of poetry from her more than 50-year career. Find the transcript for this show at

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