ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels

Long Life, by Mary Oliver--A Reader's Experience

Updated on June 21, 2007

What does the writer say?

Mary Oliver incorporates a series of essays and poems to write about the connection between nature, people, and animals. She writes about the small moments in life: a walk through a field, watching a lightening storm with a frightened dog, geese flying together in small groups, noticing the seasons change. When Oliver writes about these moments, they don't seem small. Instead they are pieces of life-the ones that make life colorful. Oliver writes poetically even when she writes prose. She can't seem to get away from the writing style she is famous for.

Throughout most of the book, I wondered what the connections were between the essays and poems (some of them were obvious, some weren't). From personal memories about taking walks, spending time with her dogs, and a boat trip to reflections on the roles of nature and seasons and animals in the world to essays about other writers like Wordsworth, Emerson, and Hawthorne, Oliver creates subtle links about life. Everything is related. Her love for nature is obvious and woven into everything she writes. Her ability to link such different subjects together--making them seem obviously linked together--is lovely. I choose the word lovely because she does it subtly. I didn't realize what the point of putting all of the different essays and poems together was until I reached the last poem. Closing the book, it hit me how interrelated everything she wrote about is.

What does this book teach me?

For a while I found myself analyzing the methods of Oliver's writing: oh, nice use of semi-colon, wish I could pull that off....But soon I became immersed in what she wrote, not how she wrote.

The most lasting impression Oliver created for me is the idea that all writing can be made to be interesting. Everything you write can be beautiful and balanced-whether it is a memory, an observation, or the introduction to a scholarly work.

The idea of including nature in everything you write is also appealing. We live in nature (although the future of that continuing is often discussed-artificial living environments seem to loom not too far ahead of us), so nature belongs in what we write. Oliver creates prose full of imagery without appearing cliché or difficult to understand. I often attempt to slide metaphors into my writing that don't always work. Oliver creates strong imagery but it seems effortless. When she has vivid descriptions or metaphors, I'm not kicked out of the story wondering "wait, what?" There is no effort in understanding what she's writing.

How do you maintain a poetical theme in prose without being too abstract?

What are some of your favorite poems?

How do you include metaphors and imagery into your writing?

How do you balance your writing to make it interesting and beautiful?

Please feel free to share your ideas!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Kenny 4 years ago

      donL - L For me, the magic of what you did with these photos, and these poeple in particular, including the wedding, was that you really did capture the happiness these poeple have with each other, and the love between them, you can see it in the eyes and the energy of the joy, and joy of the energy, they have. That's a great photographer and it was actually quite moving to see that, in them, in these pics for that reason. Keep up the great work. DL.

    • profile image

      Sriwijaya 4 years ago

      That's exciting, I'm glad I made it! Honestly, it took me quite a while to inepcst all these cute perky tits, often distracted by the other assets your models have to offer, but at the end there was no doubt, it must have been cute little Ania!Thank you very much, I'll get back to you via e-mail!Thom

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 11 years ago from North Carolina

      I feel the same when I read Somerset Maugham who weaves stories that one can relate to. I will check out her book. Thanks Stacie.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)