Mary Oliver was a nature poet, essayist and a spiritual guide for millions. Her verses are almost holy text, inspiring the religious and non-religious alike. In this course, we will read Thirst, a collection of poems grieving the death and celebrating the life of her beloved partner. Here she grapples with sorrow as a path to spiritual progress and chronicles her discovery of faith within, not outside, the physical world. We will also read several of her short essays exploring the spiritual wisdom that made Oliver one of America’s most beloved poets.
INSTRUCTOR: Kathleen Fisher thoroughly enjoyed teaching WISE members in her first course last spring. She teaches theology at Assumption College and has a fondness for medieval monks, Irish saints, and spiritual poets. She’s been studying the contemplative nature of Mary Oliver’s work for several years.
REQUIRED BOOK: Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver. Boston, Beacon Press, 2006. ISBN: 978-0807068977.
FOR FIRST CLASS: Read the following poems in Thirst: Messenger, What I Said at Her Service, Praying, The Uses of Sorrow, Percy(Six) and Thirst. The Instructor will provide in advance the essay, Staying Alive.