Mary Oliver’s Poem Selected to Appear in Best American Poetry 2012

by Megan Sexton  ·  February 23, 2012

Hey everyone, we’ve got an exciting bit of news to report: one of Mary Oliver’s poems from Five Points vol. 13.3 has been chosen to appear in the Best American Poetry  anthology for 2012! To celebrate, here’s the poem in its entirety:


In Provincetown, and Ohio, and Alabama

Death taps his black wand and something vanishes.

Summer, winter; the thickest branch of an oak tree

for which I have a special love; three just

hatched geese. Many trees and thickets of catbrier

as bulldozers widen the bicycle path. The violets

down by the old creek, the flow itself now

raveling forward through an underground tunnel.


Lambs that, only recently, were gamboling in

the field. An old mule, in Alabama, that could

take no more of anything. And then, what follows?

Then spring again, summer and the season of

harvest. More catbrier, almost instantly rising.

(No violets, ever, or song of the old creek.)

More lambs and new green grass in the field, for

their happiness until. And some kind of yellow

flower, whose name I don’t know (but what does

that matter?) rising around and out of the half-buried,

half-vulture-eaten, harness-galled,

open-mouthed (its teeth long and blackened),

breathless, holy mule.


Best American Poetry 2012 is edited by Mark Doty and hits shelves September 18, 2012. You can pre-order it now on right here! Don’t miss out on your chance to pick up a copy!