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Mary Oliver(Doctor of Letters)

Posted 04/19/07 • Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Biographical background on 2007 Dartmouth honorary degree recipients

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver

Poet Mary Oliver is the author of more than 25 books and the recipient of numerous honors and awards that have placed her in the highest realms of American poets. These honors include the 1984 Pulitzer Prize, the 1992 National Book Award, the Lannan Foundation Literary Award, the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence, the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Oliver is renowned for her evocative and precise imagery, which brings nature into clear focus, transforming the everyday world into a place of magic and discovery. The late Stanley Kunitz, the 2000 U.S. Poet Laureate, wrote, "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."

Oliver's books include her most recently published poetry collection, Thirst (2006), and her most recently published prose collection, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings (2004). In April 2006, a CD of her reading her poems—titled At Blackwater Pond—was released by Beacon Press. Two additional books are scheduled to be released by Beacon Press: a collection of poems, Red Bird (2008) and Our World (2007), a collection of photos by Molly Malone Cook with text by Oliver.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1935, Oliver attended Ohio State University and Vassar College, then a women's college. Over the past two decades she has taught at various colleges and universities, including Case Western Reserve, Bucknell, Sweet Briar College, the University of Cincinnati, and Bennington College. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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