Mary Oliver’s Devotions stays with us as one of her most enduring works.
And while we could sit and read it endlessly, we understand being inspired by one poet to pick up the work of another. Here are the five books we recommend if you love Devotions as much as we do. Some of them are poetry, and some of them are collected essays or anthologies. What they all share is the common thread of marveling at the world we live in, bringing creative hearts together through the written word, and opening our eyes to the ways in which we are all the same, even when we remain so very different.
Words Without Borders edited by Alane Salierno Mason, Dedi Felman, and Samantha Schnee
Description: Featuring the work of more than 28 writers from upwards of 20 countries, this collection transports us to the frontiers of twenty-first century literature.
In these pages, some of the most accomplished writers in world literature–among them Edwidge Danticat, Ha Jin, Cynthia Ozick, Javier Marias, and Nobel laureates Wole Soyinka, Günter Grass, Czeslaw Milosz, Wislawa Szymborska, and Naguib Mahfouz–have stepped forward to introduce us to dazzling literary talents virtually unknown to readers of English. Most of their work–short stories, poems, essays, and excerpts from novels–appears here in English for the first time.
The Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman introduces us to a story of extraordinary poise and spiritual intelligence by the Argentinian writer Juan Forn. The Romanian writer Norman Manea shares with us the sexy, sinister, and thrillingly avant garde fiction of his homeland’s leading female novelist. The Indian writer Amit Chaudhuri spotlights the Bengali writer Parashuram, whose hilarious comedy of manners imagines what might have happened if Britain had been colonized by Bengal. And Roberto Calasso writes admiringly of his fellow Italian Giorgio Manganelli, whose piece celebrates the Indian city of Madurai.
Every piece here–be it from the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, or the Caribbean–is a discovery, a colorful thread in a global weave of literary exchange.
Love Her Wild by Atticus
Description: Love Her Wild is a collection of new and beloved poems from Atticus, the young writer who has captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of avid followers on his Instagram account @atticuspoetry, including superstars like Karlie Kloss and Shay Mitchell. He was dubbed the “#1 poet to follow” by Teen Vogue and “the world’s most tattoo-able” poet by Galore magazine, in Love Her Wild, Atticus captures what is both raw and relatable about the smallest and the grandest moments in life: the first glimpse of a new love in Paris; skinny dipping on a summer’s night; the irrepressible exuberance of the female spirit; or drinking whiskey in the desert watching the rising sun. With honesty, poignancy, and romantic flair, Atticus distills the most exhilarating highs and the heartbreaking lows of life and love into a few perfectly evocative lines, ensuring that his words will become etched in your mind—and will awaken your sense of adventure.
Leaves of Grass (Illustrated) by Walt Whitman
If the illustrated edition isn’t your speed, this hardcover may be better suited to your taste. We have a serious crush on the cover design.
Description: When Walt Whitman self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855, he rocked the literary world and forever changed the course of poetry. In subsequent editions, Whitman continued to revise and expand his poems–but none matched the raw power and immediacy of the first edition. This version includes illustrations.
Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
Description: In this magical poetry collection, Nikita Gill unflinchingly explores the fire in every woman and the emotions that lie deep in one’s soul. Featuring rewritten fairytale heroines, goddess wisdom, and verse that burns with magnificent beauty, this raw and powerful collection is an explosion of femininity, empowerment, and personal growth. In these words, readers will find the magnificent energy to spark resistance and revolution.
The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris
Description: In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary — widely used in schools around the world — was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words” included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions — the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual — became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.
Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that will conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book — a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.
little infinite editor Lisa Marie Basile’s tribute to Mary Oliver after her passing
Feature image of Mary Oliver sourced here, and was taken by Mariana Cook.