Click here to read reviewer Camden Alexander's take on Long Life.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver steps out of her comfort zone to pen Long Life, a series of musings, essays, and poetry.
Although she claims that she “…would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place…” Oliver is equal to the task. Her prose, far from being a burden where she “…feel[s] the weight of the work,” is a merging of the best of both oeuvres.
In employing the same repetition of idea and lines, Oliver’s prose is much like a European folk song that forms the basis of much European classical music, winding in and around the central words, sounds, and feelings of poetry and emerging as a more complex prose-poem that leaves the reader no doubt as to what the poet is trying to convey.
There is still the sense and the feel of immediacy her Oliver’s essays and short descriptions of people, events, and venues, that sparkles and glistens like dew under a bright morning sun, and yet they are more complex, more emotionally filling for such small bits and bites.
Oliver takes the reader from seashore to forest with her bounding energetic dogs at her side and allows you to sit beside her while her partner soars, dips, and turns through cloud-strewn skies only to plunge silently to the earth in a stall and pulling up at the last moment, engine roaring and Oliver in stark silent terror.
With a sense of silent watchfulness and energy kept within loose bonds, Oliver’s Long Life is a trip into a world most of us see through veiled and busy eyes, a respite in the midst of the storm of life, and a joy that should be experienced and shared.