Top 100

Top 380 Mary Oliver Quotes (2024 Update)
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Mary Oliver Quote: “I consider myself kind of a reporter – one who uses words that are more like music and that have a choreography. I never think of myself as a poet; I just get up and write.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Here is an amazement – once I was twenty years old and in every motion of my body there was a delicious ease, and in every motion of the green earth there was a hint of paradise, and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What is my name, o what is my name that I may offer it back to the beautiful world? Have I walked long enough where the sea breaks raspingly all day and all night upon the pale sand?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Now of all voyagers I remember, who among them Did not board ship with grief among their maps?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “To find a new word that is accurate and different, you have to be alert for it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Be what you are, of the earth, but a dreamer too.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “To be contemporary is to rise through the stack of the past, like the fire through the mountain. Only a heat so deeply and intelligently born can carry a new idea into the air.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “This I have always known – that if I did not live my life immersed in the one activity which suits me, and which also, to tell the truth, keeps me utterly happy and intrigued, I would come someday to bitter and mortal regret.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The poem was made not just to exist, but to speak – to be company. It was everything that was needed, when everything was needed.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Imagination is better than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “A fact: one picks it up and reads it, and puts it down, and there is an end to it. But an idea! That one may pick up, and reflect upon, and oppose, and expand, and so pass a delightful afternoon altogether.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me. Something in me still starves.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “How sometimes everything closes up, a painted fan, landscapes and moments flowing together until the sense of distance – say, between Clapp’s Pond and me – vanishes, edges slide together like the feathers of a wing, everything touches everything.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The world where the owl is endlessly hungry and endlessly on the hunt is the world in which I live too. There is only one world.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves – we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What I mean by spirituality is not theology, but attitude.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The world has need of dreamers as well as shoemakers.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “But literature, the best of it, does not aim to be literature. It wants and strives, beyond that artifact part of itself, to be a true part of the composite human record – that is, not words but a reality.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I very much wished not to be noticed, and to be left alone, and I sort of succeeded.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “And probably, if they don’t waste time looking for an easier world, they can do it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “In my own work, I usually revise through forty or fifty drafts of a poem before I begin to feel content with it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings or even midnight. Each has its portion of the spectacular. But dawn – dawn is a gift. Much is revealed about a person about his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of day. No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it, could be a stranger to me.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “We do not love anything more deeply than we love a story...”
Mary Oliver Quote: “As a carpenter can make a gibbet as well as an altar, a writer can describe the world as trivial or exquisite, as material or as idea, as senseless or as purposeful. Words are wood.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I want the poem to ask something and, at its best moments, I want the question to remain unanswered.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “How can we ever stop looking? How can we ever turn away?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The poem in which the reader does not feel himself or herself a participant is a lecture, listened to from an uncomfortable chair, in a stuffy room, inside a building.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Who can guess the impatience of stone to be ground down, to be a part of something livelier?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What would it be like to live one whole day as a Ruskin sentence, wandering like a creek with little comma bridges?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The working, concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and by the work – who is thus responsible to the work.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “My first two books are out of print and, okay, they can sleep there comfortably. It’s early work, derivative work.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Come with me to visit the sunflowers, they are shy but want to be friends;.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart – to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I suppose they, those lives soaked in evil, are miserable and so they ever despise happiness. I suppose they feel powerless and therefore must exert power wherever they can, which is so often upon those unable to comprehend what is happening, much less defend themselves.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Inside every mind, there’s a hermit’s cave full of light.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “All culture developed as some wild, raw creature strived to live better and longer.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “But first and foremost, I learned from Whitman that the poem is a temple – or a green field – a place to enter, and in which to feel. Only in a secondary way is it an intellectual thing – an artifact, a moment of seemly and robust wordiness – wonderful as that part of it is. I learned that the poem was made not just to exist, but to speak – to be company.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Imagine lifting the lid from a jar and finding it filled not with darkness but with light.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “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.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I worked privately, and sometimes I feel that might be better for poets than the kind of social workshop gathering. My school was the great poets: I read, and I read, and I read.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Nobody owns the hearts of birds.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours. It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity. Intellectual.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I’m older than I used to be, and therefore I understand things nobody would think of who’s young and in a hurry.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “It is the news that no one is singular, that no argument will change the course, that one’s time is more gone than not, and what is left waits to be spent gracefully and attentively, if not quite so actively.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What is your heart doing now? “Remembering. Remembering!”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Don’t bother me. I’ve just been born.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Reading, then writing, then desiring to write well, shaped in me that most joyful of circumstances – a passion for work.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.”
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