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Things We Saw Today: Mary Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet, Dies at Age 83


Poet Mary Oliver, known for her work focused on the natural world, passed away today after a battle with lymphona. The literary world has been a place of mourning all day, with fans, writers, and teachers sharing her words and expressing gratitude for all she has given to her readers.

As Ruth Franklin said in an article on Oliver’s 2017 collection Devotions, “her work is incredibly accessible, and I think that’s what makes her so beloved by so many people. It doesn’t feel like you have to take a seminar in order to understand Mary Oliver’s poetry. She’s speaking directly to you as a human being.”

Oliver told NPR that “Poetry, to be understood, must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now, they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary should not be in the poem.” Her clarity and beautiful prose are showcased in her poetry, which has been bringing tears to my eyes all day as it has been shared across my Twitter timeline.

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Take the time today to read some of your favorite poems in honor of Oliver’s passing.

(via NPR, image: Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.