Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and National Book Award winner, has died at 83 from Lymphoma.
Oliver was known for writing direct poetry, with a strong love of the natural world. She answered critics who said her writing was often too direct and not flowered with stippled language by saying poetry must be clear, not fancy, to be understood.
Oliver was praised and admired by many of her fellow poets.
Stanley Kunitz said “Mary Oliver’s poetry is fine and deep; it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations.”
James Dickey said her poetry cast a spell.
“Far beneath the surface-flash of linguistic effect, Mary Oliver works her quiet and mysterious spell. It is a true spell, unlike any other poet’s, the enchantment of a true maker,” Dickey said.
She won multiple awards. Among them were: 1970, Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, 1972, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1973, Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, Poetry Society of America, 1980–1981, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1983, American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters Achievement Award, 1984, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for American Primitive,1991, Christopher Award for House of Light, 1991, L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light, 1992, National Book Award for New and Selected Poems,1998, Lannan Literary Award and in 1999, New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence.