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Flapper Press Poetry Café Series: My Favorite Poetry—Mary Oliver

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

By Flapper Press Poetry Café:

The Flapper Press Poetry Café continues a new series of articles about favorite lines of poetry and the poets who wrote them. We’re reaching out to poets, writers, and lovers of poetry to submit their favorite lines of poetry and tell us why you love them.

Check out our submission guidelines and send us your favorites!

We'll feature your submission sometime this year on our site!

This week, our submission comes from Flapper Press contributor Gail Donahue.

Mary Oliver

Gail Donahue writes:

After looking through 2 volumes of Mary Oliver's selected poems, I found one of my favorite poems by her, “When Death Comes.” Let me share these lines that especially touch my heart:

When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Why I love this so much is because while she writes the poem in the context of dying, she is talking about how to live. It's one of those examples of bringing what we think of as opposites—life and death—together and showing that they are one and the same. And bride and bridegroom as well. Everything, everyone is One. A lot of Mary Oliver's poems are strikingly conversational, with what I would consider ordinary language, yet she combines this with other words and language that shows her broad scope. She seems intentionally understated to let her subject shine onstage while she watches from the wings. I have the feeling from what I've read by her and about her that it is how she lived her life as well. It's similar to her relationship with nature in her poems. She remains rooted in nature, in what, in our modern world, we pay too little attention to nowadays. She is not even highly regarded in some circles, I've read, because she mentions God often in her work, and those exclamation points that she uses frequently!!!

I identify with Mary Oliver as a human being and as a writer.


To read more about Mary Oliver:

Mary Oliver Poetry:


Gail Donahue has been reading and writing all of her life. She writes everyday, pages of thoughts, feelings, observations, conversations, and poetry—though not poetry every day recently. She has had two poems published along with numerous freelance articles through the years on topics that include prominent women in nearby communities, health and wellness, and spiritual growth. She is thrilled to share what she writes and also information about all that she is involved with in life with whomever asks and is interested. Gail resides in Connecticut.

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