Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Common Reading 2020: Mary Oliver


"Two or three times in my life I discovered love. 

Each time it seemed to solve everything."

—Mary Oliver


Answer to the Picture Riddle Challenge: Flower!

Author: Mary Oliver

Orion Magazine | Happy Birthday, Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Her poetry focused on the quiet occurrences of nature and she routinely published a new book every year or two. She also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Does poetry offer something that text and novels over look? 

2. What are your perceptions do you have of poetry, how does this poem differ or align with those perceptions?

3. What other kinds of art tell stories?

Classroom Activities

1. Write a poem as a class, the goal is to discuss student's perceptions of college. Then have a guided conversation breaking down myths of college and helping students adjust to college life.

2. Have students write their own poem in under 10 minutes and then have them give a reading to the rest of the class.

Additional Resources

Poetry Foundation Announces Winter/Spring Event Lineup and New ...

Poetry Foundation - Mary Oliver

Famous poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Oliver has published more than thirty different poems and publications. The Poetry Foundation offers both the ability to read her various work but also background on her life and meanings of her work. There's a poem for everyone even those who don't typically like poetry.

Live Reading by Mary Oliver

Colorado University published a live reading of Wild Geese by Mary Oliver herself. Poetry takes on its own form when read aloud but it takes flight when the writer themself reads their work just as it was intended to be read to the world.