Literary Birthday - 10 September
Happy Birthday, Mary Oliver, born 10 September 1935
The 12 Most Inspiring Mary Oliver Quotes
- Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
- Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
- In college, you learn how to learn. Four years is not too much time to spend at that.
- To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
- To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
- Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
- Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
- Writers sometimes give up what is most strange and wonderful about their writing - soften their roughest edges - to accommodate themselves toward a group response.
- You can have the other words—chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
- If I’ve done my work well, I vanish completely from the scene. I believe it is invasive of the work when you know too much about the writer.
- I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
- Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
Oliver is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times described her as America’s best-selling poet.
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.