The Swan, A poetry Collection, by Mary
Book Review / Poetry Collection

The Swan, A poetry Collection, by Mary Oliver Book Review

The Swan, A poetry Collection, by Mary
The Swan, A poetry Collection, by Mary

The Swan by Mary Oliver

“What can I say that I have not said before?

So I’ll say it again.

The leaf has a song in it.

Stone is the face of patience.

Inside the river there is an unfinishable story.”


I was unfamiliar with Mary Oliver until I read her poem and prose poem collection The Swan (2010). Mary Jane Oliver who wrote extensively about the natural world and its beauty, as well as the human experience was an American poetess who won the National Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize.

Nature is the pivotal spirit of her pen. She celebrates the trivialities of nature with magnificent glory.


“Did you too see it, drifting, all night on the black river?

Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air,

an armful of white blossoms,”


Many of the poems in the collection centre around birds, particularly swans, which are used as a metaphor for the beauty and fragility of life. The swan, with its elegant grace and powerful presence, is a symbol of both strength and vulnerability, and Oliver uses it to explore the complexities of human existence.


In “What Can I Say” the poetess entreats you to ” take your buy heart to the art museum and the chamber of commerce but take it also to the forest.”

In “Of Time” she talks about the ephemeral life span of hummingbird as well as thousand other flowers. She mentions Rumi, Li Po, Hafiz.  She is well acquainted with the world of verse.

Alvina’s Verdict:

Oliver’s writing is deeply introspective and often melancholy, but it is also infused with a sense of hope and wonder. She matches the human world with nature within a symmetrical pattern where both are integral and complementary. Overall, “The Swan” is a beautiful and thought-provoking collection of poems that will appeal to anyone who loves nature and appreciates the power of language to capture the human experiences associated with it. Oliver’s writing style is straightforward and her insights into the natural world and the human psyche are both deeply moving and inspiring.

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Hi, I'm Munmun here and welcome to my book blog. I'm an English Teacher. But more than that I love to read books and write down my thoughts. I feel we can change the world by circulating the introspections of great columnists throughout the world. You are free to contact me at

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