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American Primitive [Paperback]

Mary Oliver
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.25
Price: 8.18 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 April 1983
The fifty poems in "American Primitive" make up a body of luminous unity. Mary Oliver's visionary poems enunciate the renewals of nature and the renewals of humanity in love, in oneness with the natural, in union with the things of this world. Lyrical and elegiac, Mary Oliver celebrates the primitiave things of America - the wilderness that survives both within our bodies and outside - in ."..the cords/ of my body stretching/ and singing in the/ heaven of appetite."

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Product details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (1 April 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316650048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316650045
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.7 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When the blackberries hang swollen in the woods, in the brambles nobody owns, I spend all day among the high branches, reaching my ripped arms, thinking of nothing, cramming the black honey of summer into my mouth; all day my body accepts what it is. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The elegance of mastery. 9 May 1999
By A Customer
Anyone having had a close study of the body of human verse would recognize the mastery in Mary Oliver's poetry. American Primitive deserves all of the recognition it has received. It ties the elegance of transcendence to the reality of the contemporary world. It is a celebration of the human being and the human being's life-long companion, nature. Oliver's use of the English languge is polished, well-crafted, and wild. Mary Oliver's work takes its place along side of Kunitz, Milosz, and other contemporary masters. I was licking the pages. And, by the way, "P. Larkin," you're not fooling anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic of Contemporary Poetry 9 July 2004
To read any poem by Mary Oliver is to be in the presence of the exquisite potential of language for marrying beauty and wisdom. Rarely a poet, so inclined not to impose her view nor her beliefs on anyone, can leave such profound impression on how we may come to see the world. And to read -to live, really- each poem of "American Primitive" is to educate your heart.
Someone said, very appropriately so, that Oliver's poems may have the less humans in them than any contemporary poet's body of work, yet in the case of this magnificent book, two of its most stunning choices -"John Chapman" and "The Lost Children"- has Oliver bring the same keen compassion and awe for the tragic and the gracious in being our kind, that she does when speaking of foxes, mushrooms, or crows and owls.
"John Chapman," for instance, contains some of the wisest lines about being one of us, humans, that you will find in American poetry. Chapman was the real John Appleseed who "thought little, / on a rainy night, / of sharing the shelter of a hollow log touching / flesh with any creatures there" and, yet, as a woman in the poems recalls "he spoke / only once of women and his gray eyes / brittled into ice. "Some / are deceivers," he whispered, and she felt / the pain of it, remembered it / into her old age."
I wonder if Oliver chose him because he lived his life during those times when this country was learning to be this country -and perhaps because of it- we were, for the last time, as close as a species to the rest of nature as we ever had.
"The Lost Children" is also about those times too, yet about those of one kind taken by those who were the natives to this land.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, accesible American poetry. 17 Sep 1998
By A Customer
Mary Oliver's American Primitive is one of the finer books of poetry written in America in the last fifty years. The poetry is simple, yet profound, and has intense energy and vitality. The poet never wastes a word or an idea, and though the poems have few humans beings they speak directly and movingly to the human condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Book 11 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really pleased with the service,I had wanted this book for some considerable time, so was thrilled
to received it, it's a lovely book aand well worth the read. Would use the company again
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