“Tell me, what is it your plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”: First Edition of American Primitive; Inscribed in the Month of Publication by Mary Oliver

  • American Primitive.

American Primitive.

Item Number: 23015

Boston: Little, Brown, 1983.

First edition of the poet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection. Octavo, original green cloth. Inscribed in the month of publication on the front free endpaper, “For Roger and Betty, with many good wishes. Mary. April, 1983.” Additionally signed by Mary Oliver on the title page. The recipients were neighbors and close friends of the author in Cape Cod. Fine in a fine dust jacket. The hardcover edition is scarce, as it was issued simultaneously in paperback and association copies inscribed in the month of publication are rare.

Mary Oliver was described by The New York Times as "far and away, [America's] best-selling poet." She has won both the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and the National Book Award in 1992. Oliver's poetry has been called an "indefatigable guide to the natural world, particularly to its lesser-known aspects" (Kumin, 1993). "Visionary as Emerson [ she is] among the few American poets who can describe and transmit ecstasy, while retaining a practical awareness of the world as one of predators and prey," reviewed The Nation. Holly Prado of Los Angeles Times Book Review noted that Oliver's work "touches a vitality in the familiar that invests it with a fresh intensity."