A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver! Although as I suspected it would be, it was neck and neck with the other two selections from Adrienne Rich and Andrea Gibson, as well. I’m taking a vow right now: I will read all of them!
The print version is still only available in hardcover, which you can purchase from Amazon, Powell’s, or from an independent bookstore of your choice at Indiebound. It’s also available on Kindle and Nook.
For those interested in knowing a little more about Mary Oliver and why I chose her for one of the selections even when her poetry isn’t always very overtly queer, the truth is that in addition to being a master of words, I’m simply enraptured by her love story. She first met her partner, the photographer Molly Malone Cook, in the late ‘50s in upper New York State, where Oliver had previously lived and studied at the home of the also openly queer poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. In a 2007 book called Our World which combined Oliver’s text with Cook’s photographs, Oliver says of her first meeting with Cook: “I took one look and fell, hook and tumble.” Their relationship spanned over 40 years, until Cook’s death in 2005. They lived mainly in the Cape Cod gay mecca of Provincetown, Massachusetts, where Oliver still resides.
Critic Sue Russell once noted: “Mary Oliver will never be a balladeer of contemporary lesbian life in the vein of Marilyn Hacker, or an important political thinker like Adrienne Rich; but the fact that she chooses not to write from a similar political or narrative stance makes her all the more valuable to our collective culture.”