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Red Bird

Authors: Mary Oliver

Published by Bloodaxe Books

ISBN: 9781852248116

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Mary Oliver is one of America's best-loved poets. Her luminous poetry celebrates nature and beauty, love and the spirit, silence and wonder, extending the visionary American tradition of Whitman, Emerson, Frost and Emily Dickinson.

The winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, she has lived for many years on Cape Cod. Her extraordinary poetry is nourished by her intimate knowledge and minute daily observation of the New England coast, its woods and ponds, its birds and animals, plants and trees.

'Red bird came all winter / firing up the landscape / as nothing else could.' So begins her latest collection, and the image of that fiery bird stays with the reader, appearing in unexpected forms and guises until, in a postscript, he explains himself: 'Ö for truly the body needs a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work, the soul has need of a body, and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable beauty of heaven where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes, and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.'

Red Bird is Mary Oliver's most wide-ranging collection to date, and includes her first-ever cycle of love poems. As in all her books, there are poems on the natural world and her gratitude for its gifts, as well as tributes to the many people she has loved in her seventy years, and poems for her disobedient dog, Percy. But here her attention turns also with ferocity to the degradation of the Earth and the denigration of the downtrodden by the powerful.

"These are life-enhancing and redemptive poems that coax the sublime from the subliminal."
Sally Connolly, Poetry

"... just the most beautiful writing about nature and God and ageingÖ"
Kristen Scott-Thomas, on BBC2's The Review Show
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