Mary Oliver

In a region that has produced most of the nation’s poet laureates, it is risky to single out one fragile 71-year-old bard of Provincetown, located on the northwest tip of Massachusetts’s Cape Cod. But Mary Oliver, who won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1983, is my choice for her joyous, accessible, intimate observations of the natural world. Her Wild Geese has become so popular it now graces posters in dorm rooms across the land. But don’t hold that against her. Read almost anything in “New and Selected Poems.” She teaches us the profound act of paying attention—a living wonder that makes it possible to appreciate all the others.

—Renée Loth, Boston Globe, September 2, 2007