Category Archives: Mary Oliver

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

upstream-selected-essays-by-mary-oliver Title: Upstream: Selected Essays
Author: Mary Oliver
Publisher: Penguin Press
ISBN: 978-1594206702
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays
Pages: 192
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Sometimes in life, you just need to step back and look at life differently. Mary Oliver’s books often lend that perspective. They make you rethink life and its subtleties and what transpires in our often ignored surroundings – especially nature and how we ignore it, most of the time.

Her latest offering – a prose collection “Upstream: Selected Essays” is a magical book – it speaks of writing, life, nature and creativity – all rolled into one. My only grouse with the book is that it ended too soon. I wish there was more.

“Upstream” is the kind of book that you won’t be able to rush through even if you tried. It is meant to be read languidly and at your own pace. “You must never stop being whimsical” she says and I this one sentence hit home. Mary Oliver says things you want to say and more particularly, feel. Her writing isn’t long-drawn. She comes to the point and the beauty of her writing lies in her brevity.

“Upstream” is an ode to nature, to other writers such as Whitman, Emerson and Poe. Those by far were my favourite essays. Her poetry is of course remarkable but her essays are also not far behind. Mary Oliver is the kind of writer that observes keenly and emotes beautifully through her words.

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Our World – Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver

Our World - Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver Title: Our World
Author: Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807068809
Genre: Poetry, Prose, Non-Fiction, Photography
Pages: 96
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I had heard of Mary Oliver through Brainpickings.org and I was in love with her poetry. There is something to it, which I cannot attach a word to. I am sure other readers of her poems will agree with what I have to say. However, the book read first in the month was not her book of poems. It was more of a memoir and not quite that. It was a book on her life with her partner of forty years, Molly Malone Cook. “Our World” is the name of the book. The title is so apt, more so when the works of both people are merged, then the result is something so deep, personal and emotional.

Our World - Image 1

“Our World” is a book that demands to be savoured and read in gulps. The photographs shot by Molly and the words provided by Mary are so complimentary that you cannot take one from the other. Molly was Mary’s partner of forty years, as I mentioned before. This book is almost a dedication to her, as she passed away from lung cancer. Mary remembers the moments spent without being too sentimental about them. She remembers their life (funny how two lives when combined become this one singular entity of love and everything hopeful) together and the small and the big things. I think that is life after all – the good life – the life spent together and there is nothing else to it then.

Molly’s photographs talk of reality. They speak to the reader/viewer of simplicity and kindness. They radiate joy. Mary invites us to her most personal aspect – the relationship she shared with Molly. Every face in the photographs is communicated. Every word that Mary writes is enchanting. Not to forget some pieces from Molly’s journal towards the end that leaves a lump in the throat. Read this book just so you can believe in togetherness all over again and if you already do, then it will just reaffirm it for you.

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