Friday, February 20, 2009
I read one of Mary Oliver's poems at the first Gather out of her book Our World, which is just one of her many achievements. Molly Malone Cook, her partner who died in 2005, supplied the photography for this book. You really just have to read it.
Back in Chicago, I attended one of her readings at Northwestern University. Not being an overtly emotional person, I found myself crying at the end of her reading of Wild Geese. When it was my turn for a book signing, I approached the table and found myself speechless in front her. Oddly, my knees were shaking. She smiled warmly, signed my book, and simply thanked me for coming.
I always noticed that Mary Oliver dedicated so many of her poetry books to Molly, but I never knew she was her partner. Though they were never married (it wasn't legal and thus an option), Mary and Molly formed this beautiful partnership, as illustrated in text and images in Our World.
"We were talkers -- about our work, our pasts, our friends, our ideas ordinary and far-fetched. We would often wake before there was light in the sky and make coffee and let our minds rattle our tongues. We would end in exhaustion and elation. Not many nights or early mornings later, we would do the same. It was a 40-year conversation."