Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Upstream (Mary Oliver)

Such a soothing collection of memories and musings


Title: Upstream
Author: Mary Oliver
Genre: Essays
First published: 2016
Edition: Paperback, published by Penguin in 2019

 A collection of essays in which revered poet Mary Oliver reflects on her willingness to lose herself within the beauty and mysteries of the natural world and the world of literature. Emphasizing the significance of her childhood “friend” Walt Whitman, who inspired her to vanish into the world of her own writing, Oliver meditates on the forces that allowed her to create a life for herself out of work and love.


There is something about Mary Oliver’s writing when she does these essays that just works for me. I liked the little poetry I have read by her, but felt more touched by these brief insights into her life and mind.

Most of the essays centre around some aspect of nature and the way she connects to the natural world around her, which is always a subject that I appreciate. However, there are also a few that centre around authors that have inspired her in some way, such as the aforementioned Walt Whitman. I read those with interest as well. Overall this is a very strong collection that I enjoyed very much. Her passion for her subjects is so clear.

There was something very calming about reading this collection of essays. I consciously did it in stops and starts, but whenever I picked it up I loved it.

I need to read more of her poetry.

Highly recommended!

7 out of 7 stars

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