Mary Oliver was born on September 10, 1935 in Ohio. Her father was a teacher of sociology, and also worked as an athletics coach in various schools in Cleveland.

Mary began writing poetry at the age of 14.

Her first book of poems was published in 1963, when Oliver was 28 years old. Since then, there have been many collections of her poems and prose.

For some time in the mid-1950s, Mary attended classes at the University of Ohio, as well as in Vassarovsky College, but she did not receive a diploma anywhere.

In the late 1950's Mary Oliver met a photographer Molly Malone Cook, who became her companion for more than forty years.

M. Cook was a literary agent Oliver. They settled in Provincetown (a resort town with magnificent sandy beaches at Cape Cod, Massachusetts), where they lived until the death of Molly Cook in 2005.

Mary Oliver recalled: "I too fell in love with this small town, in this wonderful merging of water and land, into this Mediterranean light; in these fishermen, who earn their living by hard and dangerous labor in their frighteningly tiny boats; and of course, to its residents and visitors, artists and writers. [...] Molly and I decided to stay here. "

Later, Mary Oliver moved to Florida.

Extremely anxious about his privacy and protecting privacy, Mary Oliver rarely gives interviews. Learn more in biography of Mary Oliver. She prefers her poems to speak for themselves. The New York Times called Mary Oliver "undoubtedly the most published and popular poet of this country".

"The Chance To Love Everything" Mary Oliver

All summer I made friends
with the creatures nearby —
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door,
grinning through their many teeth,
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming,
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound
outside the door, the canvas
bulged slightly —something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house —
I imagined the red eyes,
the broad tongue, the enormous lap.
Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
shambling tonnage.
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope —
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?

Author's Bio: 

Emili Foks is an avid reader. She writes a literature blog, where she analyzes poems of classic and contemporary authors from Emily Bronte to Mary Frye.