The Paris Review

Passing Mary Oliver at Dawn

Mary Oliver (Photo © Mariana Cook/Penguin Press)

I don’t know what to say about Mary Oliver’s death except that she was a great and beloved poet, and also my teacher and academic adviser, and that she was kind to me. She was absurdly generous. I first met her as if inside one of her poems: in a field of tall September grass, under a big bowl of stars just before dawn. It was my first week of college, and I hadn’t been

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