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The Leaf And The Cloud: A Poem Paperback – 17 Oct 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; New Ed edition (17 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306810735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306810732
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 0.6 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 933,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mary Oliver is the author of twenty books, including The Leaf and the Cloud and What Do We Know. Her many accolades include the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading it myself I bought this for two people who like and write poetry. I would give it 5 stars myself but don't read enough poetry for this to be a valid response ... so 4 it is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another lovely book from Mary Oliver. She is a quirky kind of writer who is never happier than being outdoors watching the natural world go by and this is reflected in her writing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9cedaef4) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cea8828) out of 5 stars "Shaking Free" 1 Nov. 2000
By Chip Wood - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mary Oliver's poetry takes away the breath and gives back breath; quickens the pulse and slows it; prays beside the need of the reader; opens most everything. This work, in particular, epic; enduring.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d403f54) out of 5 stars Profoundly Moving 14 July 2001
By M. Tierra - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit that I am in love with Mary Oliver's poetry. She is not only a master writer but seeing the world through her eyes is like looking through a prism of nature only to discover how the various parts of our humanity are reflected outside of ourselves. Be patient, a poem is short but not something to be read in haste. Any good poem like this one requires at least two readings to allow the metaphors and images to seep into the depths of our being. Further, some good poetry is only clever while great poetry such as this miniature epic, is for the heart, working its magic by slowly catching us unaware as it lifts us up -- like a leaf or a cloud, or both together --- and in the end gently leaving us off somewhere refreshingly new, a place where we are offhandedly aware of having experienced the breadth and nobility of our inner self. (Isn't that the highest calling of all great art?). It is Mary Oliver's only epic work where somehow all the poems relate to each other but not as a plot or continuous story, but more like all the elements in a wild mountain meadow or a forested glen are perceived as relating to each other. Once beginning to read it from the first page, you will soon find yourself hypnotically drawn to its completion about 30 or 45 minutes later. If you are a Mary Oliver fan, don't look for individual poetic gems such as White Cloud or Wild Geese (they are there but less obvious to allow the whole to emerge. After writing this review on a slightly overcast summer saturday morning, I feel the gentle urge to return to the coziness of my bed and read it over again.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d56cc00) out of 5 stars Breathtaking 2 Mar. 2003
By Nanci - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As always, Mary Oliver's poetry simply takes my breath away. It is at the same time bound to earth and ethereal. She seems to be contemplating mortality, as well as the wonder of life as we live. Although one long poem, each stanza is a poem unto itself, each word a butterfly in your window.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d4624ec) out of 5 stars A bittersweet taste of life 21 Jan. 2005
By Luan Gaines - Published on
Format: Paperback
I received this small, but powerful book of poetry as a gift from a lifelong friend after the death of my mother. My friend wanted to express more than she found in a sympathy card and felt that this poet could bring me comfort, would speak to my soul. I have only now been able to read it.

In "Flare" I read:

"May they sleep well. May they soften." I can allow my mother to leave without rage. Later, I can release her from worldly obligations:

"But I will not give them the kiss of complicity.

I will not give them responsibility for my life."

In words as soft as rose petals or the touch of a baby's cheek, Oliver invokes images that lighten the burdens of life, but tempered with reality, as quietly powerful as a balled fist. Oliver views everything around her from inside nature's world, where the dictates are profoundly simple, where lessons abound for the observant. As a guide, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is sensitive to the reality of nature's cycles, the interconnectedness of all that surrounds us.

In "Gravel", I found my own thought spoken:

"This is the poem of goodbye.

And this is the poem of I don't know."

Filled with beginnings and endings, I found myself thinking about the world more thoughtfully, grateful for its idiosyncratic beauty and finely wrought perfection, for its ability to guide birth, death and rebirth, a continuum of all life. "Maybe the real world, without us,/ is the real poem."(From the Book of Time) Luan Gaines/2005.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cea8dd4) out of 5 stars Sheer Joy 11 May 2008
By R. D. Clark - Published on
Format: Paperback
To read Mary Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud is to be swept up in a journey that is both intimate and universal at the same time. At once describing, with breathtaking lucidity, the epic beauty and staggering complexity of nature, then suddenly referring to her own humanity with poignant inquisitions, Oliver traverses internal and external environments in an elegant interplay that is, quite simply, addictive.
Not just a "Nature Poet" or "Neo-Romantic", Oliver moves beyond poetry that merely observes nature or draws quaint metaphors from its form, to a new level that celebrates humanity and nature as two parts of an indefinable, mysterious and ultimately beautiful whole.
Their is so much joy in the way in which Oliver describes the world that it is contagious, and you will forever view your surroundings differently as a result of reading this book. It isn't just her exquisite grasp of nature that makes this book so pleasurable, however, it is also the way in which she unravels her own character and story within the natural environment that makes you keep turning the pages.
This was my first encounter with Oliver's work, but certainly not the last. Highly recommended.
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