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Critical Essay | Critical Review by Maxine Kumin

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Critical Review by Maxine Kumin

SOURCE: "Intimations of Mortality," in Women's Review of Books, Vol. 10, No. 7, April, 1993, p. 19.

In the following review of New and Selected Poems, Kumin praises Oliver for "reaching for the unattainable while grateful for its unattainability."

Mary Oliver is a patroller of wetlands in the same way that Thoreau was an inspector of snowstorms. She is without vanity or pretense in her celebrations of the lives of mussels, hermit crabs, hummingbirds and other creatures, including a few select people. Reading through her New and Selected Poems, I was struck again and again by the exactitude of her imagery, by her daring marriages of animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms to the human condition, and by her slightly amended transcendentalism, which seems to allow for a stoical embrace of her own mortality. The book is composed of thirty new poems...

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This section contains 1,442 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Critical Review by Maxine Kumin - Critical Review by Maxine Kumin
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