Mary Oliver, 1935–2019
January 18, 2019
The beloved poet Mary Oliver passed away at her home in Florida on Thursday, January 17 from lymphoma. The author of more than fifteen poetry and essay collections, Oliver was well known for her distinctive lyric clarity as she often celebrated the nonhuman world and explored humanity’s relation to it. "If I have any lasting worth, it will be because I have tried to make people remember what the Earth is meant to look like," she told O, The Oprah Magazine in 2011.
Oliver, who grew up in rural Ohio and spent much of her life in Provincetown, Massachusetts, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for her book American Primitive and the National Book Award in 1992 for her New and Selected Poems. Her many other honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for her significant contributions to literature.
Until 2011, Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College. Her most recent books are the poetry collections Felicity and Devotions, and Upstream: Selected Essays, all of which are published by Penguin.
Image Credit: Mariana Cook