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Tributes to Mary Oliver: A Roundup of Reactions to the Poet’s Death

Natalie Layne Baker

Staff Writer

Natalie Layne Baker's writing has appeared at Audible, Hachette, Book Riot, Submittable, Entropy, Memoir Mixtapes, Howl Round, and Bone & Ink Lit Zine. She currently resides in Philadelphia.

The poet Mary Oliver died on Thursday at age 83. Reactions to her passing were swift and widespread, with notable names taking to social media to memorialize the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize–winning poet. Whether sharing their favorite pieces or reflecting on how her work resonated with them personally, these Twitter tributes to Mary Oliver reflect potently the poet’s impact.

Favorite Poems

Rainn Wilson, Raymond Antrobus, and Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers were among those who took to Twitter to share selections of Oliver’s work. This led to our Twitter feeds becoming a beautiful sample of Oliver’s direct, unflinching voice.

Reflections and Retrospectives

Considering the breadth of her literary influence and legacy, it is no surprise that some writers took up their pens as tributes to Mary Oliver. One stirring piece by Maria Popova states: “Few are those whose contribution to humanity … fills the heart with uncontainable gratitude for their very existence. Mary Oliver … is one such blessing of a writer.”

Meanwhile, Jon Winkour, who runs Advice to Writers, shared some Oliver wisdom that seems highly indicative of the late poet’s approach to her craft:

And a Beautiful Recitation

Finally, actor Misha Collins shared an outstanding recitation of Oliver’s “Wild Geese.” The recitation reflects the poem’s direct and haunting tone, and captures the rising motion into a call to action in the final lines.

For more on Mary Oliver, check out Book Riot’s Reading Pathways to start your journey into this poet’s brilliant, illuminating work.