I am not sure what to say about Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver that has not already been said. Therefore, I will write about the feelings I had and my “Mary Oliver story.”
Right after Oliver passed, the local poetry group did a last-minute event to read some of their favorite Mary Oliver poems, read some of their own poetry and to celebrate Oliver. My story is this was the first time I had heard a poem by her. Or at least, realized it was by Mary Oliver. I thought at first, she seemed like a “Grandma Poet.” Classic poems that are “old school” and have a “everything is sweet and lovely, and God is good” feeling. And that is not wrong. It is also, not right either. After reading a few poems, I realized she is still relatable no matter when she wrote them and when you are reading them. They do not “sugar coat” things, but they also have hope.
Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book. This is due to the fact it was a library book and I did not wish to try and futz about getting it renewed while I was in the hospital. And of course, I did not want there as leaving my phone charger was bad enough. But the small handful of what I did read was lovely. It is old school but that is not a bad thing. Oliver knows how to turn a phrase. I wrote down a few lines and noted a few poems in my writing journal.
I am seriously thinking of getting my own copy. This book, due to the format and nature of the poems, should not be rushed through. Reading one or two at a time is more than enough. Oliver should be slowly tasted, not gulped. Oliver might not be for everyone due to their traditional feel, but I feel everyone can find something in this collection.