About Mary

Mary Oliver is one of America’s most significant and best-selling poets. Born in 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in nearby Maple Heights, Mary Oliver passed away on January 17, 2019.

Mary Oliver’s books of poetry include: No Voyage and Other Poems (1963); The River Styx, Ohio, and Other Poems (1972); Twelve Moons (1979); American Primitive (1983); Dream Work (1986); House of Light (1990); New and Selected Poems (1992); White Pine (1994); West Wind (1997); The Leaf and the Cloud (2000); What Do We Know (2002); Owls and Other Fantasies (2003); Why I Wake Early (2004); Blue Iris (2004); Wild Geese: Selected Poems (2004); New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (2005); Thirst (2006); Red Bird (2008); The Truro Bear and Other Adventures (2008); Evidence (2009); Swan (2010); A Thousand Mornings (2012); Dog Songs (2013); Blue Horses (2014); Felicity (2015); and, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (2017).

Mary Oliver’s prose works include: A Poetry Handbook (1994); Blue Pastures (1995); Rules for the Dance (1998); Winter Hours (1999); Long Life (2004); Our World with Molly Malone Cook (2007); and, Upstream: Selected Essays (2016).

Among her many honors are the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for American Primitive and the National Book Award in 1992 for New and Selected Poetry. She was awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters Achievement Award. Other awards include the Lannan Literary Award, Christopher and L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, Poetry Society of America’s Shelly Memorial Prize, and the Pioneer Award from the Santa Monica Public Library Green Prize for Sustainable Literature.

She received Honorary Doctorates from The Art Institute of Boston, Dartmouth College, Marquette University, and Tufts University. She taught at many colleges and universities, including: Case Western Reserve University; Bennington College, where she held the Catherine Osgood Foster Chair For Distinguished Teaching; Bucknell University; and, Sweet Briar College, where she was Margaret Banister Writer in Residence.

  • Molly Malone Cook

  • Barbara Savage Cheresh

  • Molly Malone Cook

  • Rachel Greise Brown


In September 2019, thousands of fans came together at the 92nd Street Y in New York and online via livestream for A Tribute to Mary Oliver. Watch this extraordinary event led by Coleman Barks, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Eve Ensler, Bill Reichblum, Maria Shriver, Lisa Starr, Lindsay Whalen, and John Waters. The event was sponsored by the 92nd Street Y, the Academy of American Poets, Penguin Press, and the Poetry Society of America.

From left: Maria Shriver, Eve Ensler, Bill Reichblum, John Waters, Lisa Starr, Coleman Barks, Sec. Hillary Clinton, Lindsay Whalen