Mary Oliver introduces her handbook by declaring that although poets are born, there are some things that can be taught. "It is about matters of craft, primarily." Oliver states her purpose.
- Chapter One - "Getting Ready"
"But the desire to make a poem, and the world's willingness to receive it--indeed, the world's need of it--never pass."
Oliver explains that if Romeo had not appeared in Juliet's garden no poetry would have been made. Therefore, one must make regular appointments with his/her Muse and be serious about writing poetry. Finding a spot where one goes at a certain time is important to inspiration.
- Chapter Two - "Reading Poems"
"To be contemporary is to rise through the stack of the past, like the fire through the mountains."
Oliver herself writes a poetic line here which so aptly captures all her meaning. This is a thematic sentence: One needs to read and consume the stuff of poets from every age "widely and deeply." For, the subjects of poems do not...
(The entire section contains 941 words.)