I am reading as I write, so this isn't so much a book review as an expression of joy in the publication of a new volume of poetry by Mary Oliver.
If I recall correctly, my first introduction to Mary Oliver came courtesy of my daughter's 11th grade English teacher, who used her allotted 20 minutes or so on Parents' Night to teach us (the parents) a brief lesson on "Praying" in order to demonstrate what she was doing with our young people. ("It doesn't have to be the blue iris . . . ".)
That would have been in the fall of 2003. Since then, Mary Oliver's poems have had a way of popping up in ways that, could I list them all, would probably form themselves into an outline of many of the most significant people in my life.
Which poem do I love the most? I don't know. These are the lines I tend to quote:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
(from "Wild Geese")
She is strange, mute, difficult,
sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child,
And amazing things can happen.