Pulitzer Prize Winner Mary Oliver Dies at 83
It was the world around her and those creatures in it that Mary Oliver wrote about most often and for many within the Supernatural fandom, it was Misha Collins who first introduced us to Oliver. There have been many compilation videos posted on Youtube collecting the short videos Misha shares online showcasing poetry that speaks to him with those who follow him.
Mary Oliver passed away Jan 17, at her home, following a battle with Lymphoma. The Pulitzer Prize winner was responsible for more than fifteen collections of poetry and essays, all prompting the reader to think more deeply about their lives and the impact they have. One of America’s most famous poets, she had acquired quite a fan base of popular authors, actors, and politicians. Hillary Clinton tweeted out her condolences quoting one of Oliver’s most famous poems, “The Summer Day”. It is a couplet that touched me deeply the first time I read it, as well.
Thank you, Mary Oliver, for giving so many of us words to live by.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 17, 2019
Oliver was a believer in the simplicity of poetry. In an interview with NPR in 2012, she shared these views.
“One thing I do know is that poetry, to be understood, must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy.” She added, “The two things I loved from a very early age were the natural world and dead poets [who] were my pals when I was a kid.”
Collins shared his grief at her passing on Twitter as well, sharing yet another of her poems with his followers.
Mary Oliver was my favorite poet. Heartbroken to learn of her death. Grateful she gave us what she did with her one wild and precious life. pic.twitter.com/3GJhVAbtMP
— Misha Collins (@mishacollins) January 17, 2019
Oliver lost her partner and great love, photographer Molly Malone Cook, to whom much of her work was dedicated, in 2005. The couple had met in the late 1950’s. An Ohio native, she had studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College , though she never graduated. Lack of a degree wouldn’t hold her back, neither would a self-described dysfunctional family. She is further proof of ones ability to overcome the odds.
With the death of Oliver, we’ve lost one of the premier American poets, and I have to wonder if she felt she lived up to the words in her poem, “When Death Comes”.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
If I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
From where we sit, Mary Oliver, you have more than visited this world. You have given us all something to ponder for a lifetime.