Mary Oliver Is Listening to the World


The question I always start with whether I'm interviewing physicist or poet is I'd like to hear whether there was a spiritual background here life early life your childhood however, you would define it now. Well I would defied it very differently from what I was a child. I was said to Sunday school as many kids are. And then I had trouble with the resurrection. So I would not join the church but I was still probably more interested than many of the kids did at enter the church it's been one of the most important interests of my life. And continues to be. And it doesn't have to be Christianity I'm very much taken with the poet. Rumi who is a Muslim Sufi poet. And read him every day. and. Have no answers but have some suggestions I know that a life is much richer with spiritual. Part. To it. And I also think nothing is more interesting. So I, cling to it right and then. You I mean you talk about growing up in a sad depressed place a difficult place I mean in another you don't you don't Belabor this I mean in another place there's a place you talk about. Your one of many thousands who've had insufficient childhoods. But that you spend a lot of your time walking around the woods. Yes Ohio I did and and I think it saved my life. I to this day I, don't care for the enclosure of buildings. It was a very bad childhood. For everybody, every member of the household, not just myself I. Think. And I escape did. Barely with years of. Trouble. But I did find that the entire world. In looking for something. But. I got saved by poetry and I got saved by the beauty of the world. Yeah and and there's such a convergence of those things. Yeah. It seems all the way through in your life as a poet. It is it is a convergence and. Have a little difficulty now having lived for fifty years in small town in the north. I'm trying very hard to love the mangroves. Well I know it takes a while I have to say you and your poetry. For. Me are so closely identified with province town this and that part of the world and. And that kind of dramatic weather. Yes. Kind of shore. Yes. and so when I you know and I had this amazing opportunity to come visit you and I and I look and great, we're going to Cape Cod. To Florida. Well, I just sold by Condo to a very dear. this summer. And I bought a little house start here, which is needs very serious reconstruction. So I'm not yet. But sometimes, it's time for the age. Though for all those years for decades of your writing. This picture was there view this pleasure of walking and writing and? I don't know standing with your notebook. Yes and actually writing while you're walking. Yes. I did it and it is, and it seems like such a gift that you've found that way to be a writer and have that daily. Have Well I. Don't as I say I don't like buildings. Yeah. So I was I the only the only record I broken in school was truancy. I went to the woods a lot with with books right Whitman in the. Knapsack. But I also liked motion. So I just began with these little notebooks and scribbled things as I they came to me and then work them into poems later. And always I wanted the I many of the poems I did this I did this. I saw this I I wanted them the I to be the possible reader. rather than about myself it was about an experience that happened to be mind but could well have been anybody else's and that was my feeling about the I. I have been criticized by one editor who felt that the I would be felt as ego. And I thought well I'm going to risk it and see. And I think it worked. It adjoined. The reader into the experience of the poem. I became the kind of person who did the walking in the scribbling yeah. But shared it. Yeah. If if they wanted it, yes. You also use this word. You know there's this place where you're talking about. Writing while walking listening deeply and I love this listening listening conviviality. Yes. Yeah and listening really to the world the stick to the world. Well, I I did that I still do it. I still

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