“Oliver’s poems are thoroughly convincingas genuine, moving, and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring.” The New York Times Book Review
Atlantic Monthly Press
978-0-87113-069-3 • $15.00 • Paperback • May 1986
Dream Work, a collection of forty-five poems, follows both chronologically and logically Mary Oliver's American Primitive, which won her the Pulitzer Prize for the finest book of poetry published in 1983 by an American poet. The depth and diversity of perceptual awarenessso steadfast and radiant in American Primitivecontinue in Dream Work. She has turned her attention in these poems to the solitary and difficult labors of the spiritto accepting the truth about one's personal world, and to valuing the triumphs while transcending the failures of human relationships.
Whether by way of inheritanceas in her poem about the Holocaustor through a painful glimpse into the presentas in "Acid," a poem about an injured boy begging in the streets of Indonesiathe events and tendencies of history take on a new importance here. More deeply than in her previous volumes, the sensibility behind these poems has merged with the world. Mary Oliver's willingness to be joyful continues, deepened by self-awareness, by experience, and by choice.