New and Selected Poems | Critical Review by David Baker

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of New and Selected Poems.
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SOURCE: A review of House of Light, in The Kenyon Review, Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter, 1991, pp. 192-202.

In the following excerpt, Baker questions the "isolationist" and "righteous" tendencies in Oliver's poetry.

Like Stanley Plumly, Mary Oliver is a poet who reworks her passions. While Plumly's poems may have relatively few characters, Oliver's are downright isolated, hermetic; and while Plumly's phrasing is slow, severe, haunted, Mary Oliver's music is loose, humble, casual, innocent. I happen to like her work a good bit, and so find her new House of Light full of pleasures worth my repeated attention, but I also maintain a suspicion or two.

What I like most about Oliver's poems is their reverence for the natural world, their politics (usually implied rather than declared) of ecology, stewardship, and human connection. Her plain style and her persistent, nearly unvoiceable awe at the powerful beauty of nature...

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This section contains 1,177 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by David Baker
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Critical Review by David Baker from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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