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Upstream
Upstream: Selected Essays | Mary Oliver
183 posts | 78 read | 8 reading | 158 to read
In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be. So begins Upstream, a collection of essays in which beloved poet Mary Oliver reflects on her willingness, as a young child and as an adult, to lose herself within the beauty and mysteries of both the natural world and the world of literature. Emphasizing the significance of her childhood friend Walt Whitman, through whose work she first understood that a poem is a temple, a place to enter, and in which to feel, and who encouraged her to vanish into the world of her writing, Oliver meditates on the forces that allowed her to create a life for herself out of work and love. As she writes, I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple. Upstream, a radiant collection of essays with a new piece on Provincetown, follows Oliver as she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, her boundless curiosity for the flora and fauna that surround her, and the responsibility she has inherited from Shelley, Wordsworth, Emerson, Poe, and Frost, the great thinkers and writers of the past, to live thoughtfully, intelligently, and to observe with passion. Throughout this collection, Oliver positions not just herself upstream but us as well as she encourages us all to keep moving, to lose ourselves in the awe of the unknown, and to give power and time to the creative and whimsical urges that live within us. From the Hardcover edition.
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review
Robotswithpersonality
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Pickpick

I will be investigating 'Our World' to get more memoir, and hopefully find a short story collection by Mary Oliver, because I loved the two in this collection. Analysis of poets/poems not my thing; wish animal death/eating animals wasn't such a big part of recounting natural world explored. Squeamish and arachnophobic should skip 'Swoon'. Not an artist, so can't comment on her directives in that matter. Think I prefer poems to poetic non-fiction.

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Robotswithpersonality
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"...solitude was a prerequisite to being openly and joyfully susceptible and responsive to the world of leaves, light, birdsong, flowers, flowing water."

Maybe it's the introvert in me, but I can never figure out how those who go in talking pairs or groups truly get anything out of a nature walk.

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Robotswithpersonality
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If you'd told me at the beginning of this year that I would actually be reading and enjoying poetry, I would have been highly dubious of your veracity. ? But Mary Oliver, yet again, helps put it into words.
"...the poem is...a place...in which to feel. Only in a secondary way is it an intellectual thing...a moment of seemly and robust wordiness-wonderful as that part of it is....the poem was made not just to exist, but to speak-to be company."

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Robotswithpersonality
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"Come with me into the field of sunflowers is a better line than anything you will find here, and the sunflowers themselves far more wonderful than any words about them."

It's not a humble brag from a Pulitzer prize winning writer. From the two collections of poems I've previously read, it's clear Mary Oliver sees the natural world around her as one of, if not THE, most valuable parts of life, not simply as subject matter for poetry. Agreed.

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anushareflects
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Pickpick

Mary Oliver is a sort of Deity to me. I don‘t pray, I read Mary Oliver‘s poetry. Her writing just touches me in ways so much else doesn‘t. I love her depth, her simplicity, her oneness with nature. Both of these works are truly truly magnificent.

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Booksbymybed
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🌏 🌱 🌸

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Lissa00
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Birthday #bookhaul finally arrived!📚📖📚

Tamra Lovely! 1y
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wanderinglynn
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#thoughtfulthursday

📚 Oh my yes, I reread all my faves. Dozens of times.

📖 No, but I admit that I have bought books because of a beautiful cover.

Thanks for the tag @TheSpineView 😘

Want to play? @Roary47 @Trashcanman @Teresereading @Cathythoughts @The_Penniless_Author @Brittanysteele89

TheSpineView You're welcome! 🌞 1y
KathyWheeler I was going to tag Upstream as well but then chose Sand County Almnac instead. 😊 1y
wanderinglynn @KathyWheeler great minds! 👍🏻😀 1y
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Cathythoughts Cheers 👍🏻❤️ 1y
ddbookreviews Thanks for you blogpost. Helped me figure out how Litsy works. 1y
MoonWitch94 I love rereading favorites! It‘s so comforting. I always discover something new that I missed. Thanks for playing ☺️📚🌿 1y
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danibel
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Currently reading

TheBookHippie Enjoy. She‘s wonderful. 2y
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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

I have been reading Upstream for a long while. I stretched the slim book into small little snippets and only read outside. I figure that's what Mary Oliver would prefer: outside reading. She's such a treasure. My favorite essays were one about the fox and another about the injured gull. (Returned to the library so I don't have the titles) But, sigh, if only more of the world could be like M.O. I certainly strive to be. Total love 🌳🌞

tjwill I totally agree that certain books and authors deserve to be read outside! I love reading outside! 2y
VioletBramble I loved the story about the injured gull. It was so beautiful. I cried while reading it on the train. 2y
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AlexGeorge
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Pickpick

I drew it out as long as I could, but sadly, this morning I reached the end of this beautiful book. I suspect it won‘t ever be far from my side, though.

lahousewyfe This one sticks with me - especially when I'm out walking the dogs. The beauty of the prose - so wonderful! I learned so much just from one read. 2y
Chelsea.Poole I just finished this. Such a delight. 2y
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Erin.Elizabeth10
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I read this book back in January, but I am just now reviewing it. I read it on a personal silent retreat, and it was the perfect book for that context! It drew me back to myself, and it felt like the perfect home during that retreat. I love Mary Oliver‘s poetry, and these essays were equally wonderful!

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AlexGeorge
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“Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

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drew_a._winter
Pickpick

Some short essays on the natural world.

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Chelsea.Poole
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This is the perfect book to read in the grass, beside a babbling brook, with the birds chirping. 🌾

Chelsea.Poole #bloominglitsy--these sweet little wild flowers 2y
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Texreader
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There is some precious artwork in this article depicting children and books

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/staying-alive-mary-oliver-on-how-books-saved-...

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Chelsea.Poole
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These gorgeous spring days spent outside and stealing moments with my book while watching my children play...heaven. Total contentment. Well, I could use a few more moments reading, but that's always the case. Loving this slim volume of #essays from poet Mary Oliver. I've had this on my list a long while and I'm glad I waited til this moment in time to take it in. 🌱 🌞 #readoutside

nelehelen I have this too and it seems now is the perfect time to finally read this 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 💛💛💛 2y
Chelsea.Poole @nelehelen sometimes books fit into our lives at the perfect time! ♥️🌱 2y
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Cathythoughts
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“ ...... & Noah, the oak tree I have hugged & kissed every first day of spring for the last thirty years. And in reply it‘s thousands of leaves tremble! What a life is ours! Doesn‘t anybody in the world anymore want to get up in the middle of the night and sing ? “

Jessie , Thankyou , these Mary Oliver essays are going to save me in these days 🙏and Disappearing Earth 🙏Thankyou ! You are so good always XXX thanks , Cathy.

Cinfhen Lovely 😊 Hope u had a wonderful birthday 🎂 ♥️🌷 2y
sheshedbooks 💓 Upstream. Glad you're enjoying it! 2y
rockpools 🌻🌸Hope you had a good birthday and are doing well Cathy 🌺😘 2y
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Cathythoughts @jhod I think you would like the quote I put in this post .... 😁☝🏻🤸🏼‍♂️ 2y
Cathythoughts @Cinfhen Thanks 😊 X 2y
Cathythoughts @greenreads 👍🏻❤️I am loving it 2y
Cathythoughts @RachelO Thanks so much X 2y
jhod Wonderful! X 2y
erzascarletbookgasm You‘re most welcome, Cathy. Hope you had a lovely birthday! Happy birthday! ❤️🎂💐📚 2y
youneverarrived So nice ♥️♥️ 2y
BiblioLitten I hope you had a wonderful birthday 🎉🎊😊 2y
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Bibliogeekery
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Absolutely delightful! I have been reading this so slowly because I didn't want it to end but my nervous system needed some soothing so I finished it today. A lovely collection of different bits of Mary Oliver loveliness! 😍📚 #queerbooks

lahousewyfe Loved this collection! 3y
Angitron Adding to my stack - I could definitely use something soothing right now! 3y
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jen_the_scribe
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Pickpick

Mary Oliver took me along on her walks through the woods and on the beach, where we observed the gulls, the egrets, the turtles, the owls, the foxes. It's hard to explain, but these essays stirred something in me. She wrote about nature, about writing and poetry, her favorite poets and writers, and her favorite spots in the woods and on the beach. She wrote about life and death. Nonfiction, essays, and still... it was poetry.

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jen_the_scribe

"I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one."

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jen_the_scribe

"The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list."

wanderinglynn Love Oliver and this book. ❤️❤️❤️ 3y
jen_the_scribe @wanderinglynn I love her too. These essays moved me deeply. 3y
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jen_the_scribe

"Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me. Something in me still starves."

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jen_the_scribe

"Stepping out into the world, into the grass, onto the path, was always a kind of relief. I was not escaping anything. I was returning to the arena of delight."

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jen_the_scribe

"For me it was important to be alone; solitude was a prerequisite to being openly and joyfully susceptible and responsive to the world of leaves, light, birdsong, flowers, flowing water."

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jen_the_scribe

"Brawn and spirit, we are built of light, and God is within us."

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jen_the_scribe

"In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us."

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jen_the_scribe

"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."

Geenie 👍💖 3y
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jen_the_scribe

"You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life."

wanderinglynn ❤️ such a great quote. 3y
Cathythoughts Oh I love her ❤️ 3y
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jen_the_scribe

"I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too."

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jen_the_scribe
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I'm usually a fast reader. The only reason I don't finish books in one sitting like I used to is because I have kids to tend to lol. I still retain the information even with reading fast, but every now and then there comes a book that has me hanging on every word. I want to savor every word, every line, like one of those songs you replay over and over. I can already tell, this is one such book.

Cathythoughts Beautiful beautiful X 3y
Bibliogeekery My favourite line in the whole book! I'm the same with this one. I've never read a book so slowly but it because I love it so much and there is such rich, denseness in it! 3y
jen_the_scribe @Bibliogeekery Completely agree! She's even poetic with essays! 3y
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jen_the_scribe
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My next read 😊

BookingitwithSandra I love Mary Oliver. Enjoy! 3y
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Bibliogeekery
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😍

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Bibliogeekery
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Some Mary Oliver moments between clients on a sunny afternoon! ☀️🌿

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silentrequiem
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I had a hankering for Mary Oliver so went by BN to kill some time before Valentine's Day dinner. I walked out with a small stack. The Goldstein seemed fun, and the Center and Backman were in the bargain section (2 for $8 so I couldn't resist). And then came home to find the Yu waiting for me from Penguin Random House. I had redeemed some Reader Rewards points for it. Hooray new books!

silentrequiem @Bibliogeekery the Mary Oliver is your fault. I had planned on picking it up at some point but your posts the other day made me want to read her. 3y
Tanisha_A Superb haul! 🥳 3y
Bibliogeekery @silentrequiem I am happy to take responsibility for that! Enjoy! 😍 3y
Tamra A stack of love - perfect! 3y
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Bibliogeekery
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I'm super exhausted so am spending my paperwork time lying on the floor of my office reading Mary Oliver.

WanderingBookaneer Any excuse to read Mary Oliver... 3y
robinb Nice view! ❤️❤️ 3y
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Cathythoughts ❤️👍🏻 3y
Fridameetslucy You do know how to live well! 3y
Suet624 She‘s great to read when you‘re exhausted and lying on the floor. 3y
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Bibliogeekery
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💗

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Bibliogeekery
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This whole passage is so amazing!!!

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

😍😍😍
#queerbooks

Cathythoughts This is beautiful 💔 3y
charl08 I love the idea about peppermint in kids' pockets... 3y
DrexEdit I 💜 this. 3y
Bibliogeekery @charl08 it's so lovely, isn't it? 3y
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Bibliogeekery
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Mary Oliver never disappoints! #queerbooks

BarbaraTheBibliophage ♥️ her 3y
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Bibliogeekery
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Diving back into this glorious book! 😍 #queerbooks

review
underground_bks
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Pickpick

Reading this collection of essays on nature by poet Mary Oliver is like hiking through a forest of old growth trees, there‘s the challenge of the path ahead and the soaring breathless height of the treetops above, every sense engaged. It was heady for me and I expect to return to it once I‘ve gained a little more age and wisdom.

readordierachel Lovely review 💚 3y
underground_bks @readordierachel thank you so much! ☺️🌿 3y
Leftcoastzen Nice review .sweet kitty.😻 3y
underground_bks @Leftcoastzen thank you! That‘s my cat Peter ☺️ 3y
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jen_the_scribe
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My first book haul of 2020, a late Christmas gift from my sister. I'm excited for these 😁

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Mitch
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Oh my goodness what a lovely parcel to come home to. Thank you wonderful @wanderinglynn The socks are amazing! Thick and soft and luscious and will be on my feet on Christmas Eve! I‘ve wanted to read this book for ages - a new to me author. Stoked! 😘😘😘😘

catiewithac Those socks!!! 😍 3y
LeahBergen I love those socks! 3y
wanderinglynn So glad it arrived! ❤️🎄💚 And I hope you enjoy the book. I love Mary Oliver. (And I ended up having to order myself a pair of those socks too! 😉) 3y
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Mitch @LeahBergen @catiewithac They‘re so wonderfully soft and warm... they‘re going to be a winter fav 🎅 3y
squirrelbrain They look lovely! 🧦 🧦 (edited) 3y
Blaire How nice! I love out of print‘s stuff. 3y
umbrellagirl I *need* those socks. 3y
Suet624 All wonderful items! 3y
Cathythoughts Beautiful gift ❤️❤️❤️ 3y
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haileybean
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The worst stung heart. After my worst reading year to date: I‘m ready to dive back in to stories and heal my worst-stung heart. #maryoliver #upstream #readingishealing

Cathythoughts I love this 👍🏻❤️Thankyou for sharing 3y
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wanderinglynn
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Pickpick

I forgot to post Upstream, which I have been savoring, choosing essays, not in order, but as each speaks to me. 5🌟

My favorite, if one can have a favorite Oliver (because they‘re all amazing), is Sister Turtle. #TIL

“Teilhard de Chardonnay was not talking about how to escape anguish, but about how to live with it.”

#nfNov 9pts post/160 total

lahousewyfe Oh! One of my favorites. I read it for the first time this year. 3y
Clwojick 9 pt 3y
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wanderinglynn
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My pre-order arrived! 🎉

marleed Oh fun. I pre ordered Postscript on Amazon. I received it about the time it was released in UK. Interestingly, my copy is written in European spellings. IE, s Vice z in words like realize. And I‘ve not seen it physically at B&N so I‘m a bit confused. 3y
kspenmoll Such a wonderful book❤️ 3y
wanderinglynn @marleed That‘s is interesting. 3y
wanderinglynn @kspenmoll I‘m looking forward to reading it. 3y
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kyraleseberg
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Pickpick

Mary Oliver's first language is nature and she writes about it---and her relationship with it---with unabashed awe. The world needs more of this.

"Something is wrong, I know it, if I don't keep my attention on eternity. May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful."