Felicity: Poems

Mary Oliver. Penguin Press, $24.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59420-676-4
“Only if there are angels in your head will you ever, possibly, see one,” writes Pulitzer Prize–winner Oliver (Dog Songs) in a collection that serves as an ecopoetic, transcendentalist guidebook for the wandering soul. Replete with endearing adages and prophetic wisdom, and subdivided by Rumi quotes, Oliver’s three sections—”The Journey,” “Love,” and “Felicity”—follow the guiding voices of nature and sacred love. She expresses gratitude for the embrace of her partner—“I can’t remember/ everything—// so many years!/ Are the morning kisses/ the sweetest/ or the evenings// or the inbetweens?/ All I know/ is that ‘thank you’ should appear/ somewhere”—and explains that humans’ need for embrace is why “the body/ gladly lingers in the wind or the rain” when one is lonely. Leading readers to appreciate the overlooked all around them, Oliver takes notice of birds, assured that “the reason they can fly” is because they own nothing. She also looks toward a cricket who no longer sings, redeeming him in his late age by reminding readers that this silence “doesn’t mean/ he hasn’t been an excellent cricket/ all his life.” Oliver’s longtime fans and those who seek spiritual renewal will find themselves a worthy guide in this sagacious, pantheistic read. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/21/2015
Release date: 10/13/2015
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-14-312876-2
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