At Blackwater Pond: Mary Oliver Reads Mary Oliver

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One of the astonishing aspects of Oliver's work is the consistency of tone over this long period. What changes is an increased focus on nature and an increased precision with language that has made her one of our very best poets. --Stephen Dobyns, New York Times Book Review


Mary Oliver has published fifteen volumes of poetry and five books of prose in the span of four decades, but she rarely performs her poetry in live readings. Now, with the arrival of At Blackwater Pond, Mary Oliver has given her audience what they've longed to hear: the poet's voice reading her own work. In this beautifully produced compact disc, Mary Oliver has recorded forty of her favorite poems, nearly spanning the length of her career, from Dream Work through her newest volume, New and Selected Poems, Volume Two. The package is shrink-wrapped so that the elegant clothbound audiobook can takes its place on the poetry shelf. It also includes a fifteen-page booklet with an original essay, Performance Note, photos of the author at Blackwater Pond, and a full listing of the poems and their sources.

Much of the work of the poet is a mystery, but the last labor is clear; it is the deliverance of the poem. Often this happens through a manuscript or a book, but it can occur in a vocal way also. Has everyone at some time looked up the original meaning of performance? It means, says Webster, 'to finish, to complete.' The poem is meant to be given away, best of all by the spoken presentation of it; then the work is complete. Which makes performance sound, does it not, like part of the life-work of the poem, which I think it is. As if the poem itself had an independent life, or the endless possibility of its own life, in minds other than the poet's, which I think it has.--Mary Oliver, from Performance Note, an original essay first published in At Blackwater Pond


Table of Contents:

1 The Lark Ascending 1:03


Part One:
2 Some Herons 1:32
3 Wild Geese 1:13
4 Beans 1:15
5 The Swan 1:29
6 Bone 1:55
7 Hermit Crab 1:20
8 Goldenrod 1:35 e
9 I Looked Up 0:52
10 The Buddha's Last Instruction 1:42
11 The Kingfisher 1:25
12 Bear 1:16
13 Some Things, Say the Wise Ones 1:11
14 Her Grave 3:15
15 Mindful 1:11
16 Lonely, White Fields 1:33
17 Where Does the Temple Begin 1:32
18 Goldfinches 1:08
19 Song of the Builders 0:43
20 Peonies 1:41
21 Five a.m. in the Pinewoods 1:30
22 The Summer Day 1:29


23 The Lark Ascending 1:36


Part Two:
24 The Sun 1:16
25 The Snow Cricket 1:40
26 Whelks 1:32
27 Hum 1:50
28 White Flowers 1:21
29 Rice 0:57
30 Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard 1:49
31 Maybe 1:26
32 When Death Comes 1:49
33 Lingering in Happiness 0:59
34 The Ponds 1:33
35 Roses, Late Summer 1:46

Beacon Press

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

0.52" H x 5.44" L x 5.9" W

compact disk