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Inspirational Mary Oliver Quotes

Mary Oliver  is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize whose words always manage to touch me deep within and inspire me. You’ll find me quoting her poetry every now and then in my posts.

Today, I’m sharing just a few of her quotes.

Inspirational Mary Oliver Quotes

You can have the other words—chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
– Mary Oliver, “Sand Dabs, Five,” Winter Hours

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.
– Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time
– Mary Oliver, “Of Power and Time,” Blue Pastures

quote #64

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
– Mary Oliver, “Sometimes,” Red Bird

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
– Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day,” New and Selected Poems

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via Flickr

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
– Mary Oliver, “Evidence,” Evidence

It’s very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can’t wait until morning—it’ll be gone.
– Mary Oliver, “Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver,” O Magazine, Mar. 2011

To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
– Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods,” American Primitive

Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
– Mary Oliver, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?”, West Wind
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume 1
What I want in my life is to be willing, to be dazzled, to cast aside the weight of facts, and maybe even float a little above this difficult world.
– Mary Oliver, House of Light

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Did any of these quotes strike you? Do share.

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If you’ve been doing the September Blogging Challenge – congratulations on reaching the last day. It required you to write 22 posts (on weekdays) and I’m so proud of you for working through it. Thank you for your support and patience as well.

I know many of you couldn’t continue due to various circumstances. That’s life. And the good news is that we get more chances. In October, you might like to try out Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Challenge (which I undertook this month), or the 31 Day Challenge.

Happy blogging!


13 Comments

  1. Gilly Maddison Gilly Maddison October 16, 2015

    What a fantastic collection of quotes – every single one had me saying Yes! Yes!

    I love them all but these really stand out for me: Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
    – Mary Oliver, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?”, West Wind

    The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time
    – Mary Oliver, “Of Power and Time,” Blue Pastures

    Thanks for some lovely inspiration today Corinne.

  2. Darla M Sands Darla M Sands October 3, 2015

    I like the quote about writing things down. My Kindle Fire sits by my bedside so I can type in notes and not disturb my partner if something comes to mind in the middle of the night.

  3. Leanne Leanne October 2, 2015

    this one if my favourite: I saw that worrying had come to nothing, and gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang. – Mary Oliver

  4. Angel Stew & Devil's Brew Angel Stew & Devil's Brew October 2, 2015

    All of them resonate on some level but “Of Power and Time” does it for me.. Great post Corinne. Thank you for sharing these.

  5. trenna trenna October 1, 2015

    One of the things I love most about your blogs is that I am never disappointed. I always come away feeling better because I read it. Since my husband says I am a grumpy gus, that is a great compliment.

  6. Balroop Singh Balroop Singh October 1, 2015

    I love this one the most….”What I want in my life is to be willing, to be dazzled, to cast aside the weight of facts, and maybe even float a little above this difficult world.”
    It inspires me further and reassures that floating above this world is a possible dream!
    Thanks Corinne for sharing a wonderful collection.

  7. nan nan September 30, 2015

    Oh man, I get the most brilliant ideas at 3:00 a.m. I used to have a hand-held voice recorder by my bed along with a notebook. I need to find that recorder. All her quotes resonated within. I’ve never heard of her but NOW I have to go find all her books. She is amazing and thank you so much for sharing her with me!

  8. Dorothy Johnson Dorothy Johnson September 30, 2015

    These three quotes, right in a row, spoke to me. I know from experience that I have to write ideas, lines, thoughts down or I lose them. And the other two just appeal me. Thanks for sharing.

    It’s very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can’t wait until morning—it’ll be gone.
    – Mary Oliver, “Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver,” O Magazine, Mar. 2011

    To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
    – Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods,” American Primitive

    Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
    – Mary Oliver, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?”, West Wind

  9. Mary Hill Mary Hill September 30, 2015

    I think this is the most important quote from Mary Oliver for me:

    It’s very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can’t wait until morning—it’ll be gone.
    – Mary Oliver, “Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver,” O Magazine, Mar. 2011

    I sometimes don’t get up and write down my thoughts, and I lose them. I need to start getting up immediately. I regret it when I don’t. Thanks for sharing these!

  10. Mahathi Ramya Mahathi Ramya September 30, 2015

    I liked this quote and i follow it too..
    It’s very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can’t wait until morning—it’ll be gone.

    • Mary Hill Mary Hill September 30, 2015

      Hi, I just saw that you agree with me. 🙂

  11. nabanita nabanita September 30, 2015

    I love all the quotes….every time you share such gems Corinne…Thank you..

    I pick these two of all mentioned here 🙂

    I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.

    The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time

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