Book Review: Devotions, Mary Oliver


“Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all living things. Identified as “far and away, this country’s best selling poet” by Dwight Garner, she now returns with a stunning and definitive collection of her writing from the last fifty years. 
Carefully curated, these 200 plus poems feature Oliver’s work from her very first book of poetry, No Voyage and Other Poems, published in 1963 at the age of 28, through her most recent collection, Felicity, published in 2015. This timeless volume, arranged by Oliver herself, showcases the beloved poet at her edifying best. Within these pages, she provides us with an extraordinary and invaluable collection of her passionate, perceptive, and much-treasured observations of the natural world.”


I feel like poetry is picking up speed again after being underappreciated for a years, I’m welcoming it because I’ve always been a lover of it, and also at times, a writer of it. It’s such a beautiful form of writing, simple, impactful, and often packing a large punch in just a few verses.

I’ve read scattered Mary Oliver poems, but never a full collection. I wanted to change that but I wasn’t sure which one to buy, that’s how I stumbled across Devotions. I thought, why not buy the collection of collections. Why not buy the poems that Oliver herself hand selected as her best? It seemed like a good idea, and it was.

I really enjoyed this book. It inspired me. It spoke to me in the language that only poetry can. Oliver is known for her writing on nature and God, and this book delivered everything I knew her work to be and more. She had such a strong style and voice, and knew that poetry didn’t have to be complex or hard to comprehend to have an impact.

I’ve been reading this book for months, stealing poems here and there, reading it in pieces and in longer sittings, trying to steal a little magic to last me throughout the day, but I made the move to finish it yesterday after the news of her death.

She is a legend in the poetry world and it isn’t hard to understand why. Her ability to move the world with her worlds didn’t change over her long career, and it won’t change after her death, years from now people will still be reading and loving Mary Oliver’s work, learning to comprehend life and beauty for all that it is.

I rate this book five out of five stars and would recommend it to anyone looking to dip into poetry or simply ponder the joys of life.

Note: I read a lot more books than I post here. I try to only post ones that are relevant to this blog and might appeal to readers of it. To see other books I’ve read check out my Goodreads account.

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