Poets must read and study, but also they must learn to tilt and whisper, shout, or dance, each in his or her own way, or we might just as well copy the old books. But, no, that would never do, for always the new self swimming around in the old world feels itself uniquely verbal. And that is just the point: how the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That's the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning.'Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?' This book is my comment.- from the Foreword.
Born in a small town in Ohio, Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-three. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Hennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. Oliver died in January 2019.