Last week on a solo road trip, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a conversation between Mary Oliver, America’s best-selling poet, and local favorite Krista Tippett from On Being. While driving in Northern Minnesota engaged in this incredible podcast, Listening to the World, I was brought to tears by the story of Mary Oliver as a young writer in the wilderness.
Although a strong student, as a young adult Mary would often skip school to wander in the woods of Ohio, where she found her needed peace and inspiration. Mary wrote down everything she observed from nature, never leaving home without her notepad and pen in hand. There was no other way she was able to create and share her thoughts – immediately scribbling down emotions the moment they entered her mind was her act of poetry.
A prolific writer of both poetry and prose, receiving the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and publishing over 25 books over the years, Mary has continued to handwrite everything she creates and can’t imagine any other way to capture her daily observations.
Although she mentions it’s more difficult to handwrite in her older years (thankfully her poems are becoming shorter these days), she still uses pen and paper for all her work. So as April’s National Poetry Month (as well as National Letter-Writing Month) comes to a close, I feel extremely grateful for the words and beauty which Ms. Oliver has brought into our world, all through the simple act of placing mind to pen to paper. What is stopping you?