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Cleveland homecoming for Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver.
Mary Oliver.
Photo by Rache Giese Brown.

On Tuesday, April 13, world famous poet and Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winner, Mary Oliver, will return to her Cleveland roots, with a reading at Cleveland’s State Theatre in Playhouse Square, as part of the “Writers Center Stage Series”.

Born in Maple Heights, Oliver attended both The Ohio State University and Vassar College in New York, but she never completed a degree, according to her bio. However, the quality of her work overpowered any lack of letters that might have potentially impeded an academic career, earning her positions at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, University of Cincinnati, and other academic appointments, including her current position as the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College in Vermont.

Prolific in all things literary, Oliver has published extensively in newspapers, literary journals, instructional books on poetry writing, and in books of literary criticism.

But it is her poetry that earned Mary Oliver that rare and coveted position of “household name” that so few American poets ever achieve. Most often noted for her Thoreau-and-Emerson-esque subject matter, nature—specifically that of Ohio and the New England surroundings of her current home in Provincetown, Massachusetts—most often appears in her work.

She’s published almost two dozen collections of poetry since her first, No Voyage, and Other Poems, first appeared in 1963. Among her most notable collections are American Primitive, published in 1983, which won her the Pulitzer Prize, and New and Selected Poems from 1992, which won her the National Book Award. She continues to write abundantly, averaging a collection every year or so, with her most recent from 2009, Evidence.

Tickets can be found at


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