I brought Mary some parsnip soup, a pumpkin muffin from the Round House and Mary Oliver’s new book. We sat at her dining room table, her woods and mountains, just beyond the bird feeders, out the picture window that brightens up her old farm house. We got right to work going over the poems that will be in Mary’s new book.
This will be the third book of Mary’s that Jon and I will publish. And we weren’t certain it would actually happen until almost a year ago, when Mary gave me a folder with a bunch of new poems in it. And she’s been adding to them ever since. Today, I brought my folder of poems with me to Mary’s. She read each poem from her revised pile, and I changed a word or phrase on my old copies, updating them.
But there was one poem that I had that Mary didn’t. It was called On Approaching Age 82. I showed it to Mary saying I thought it should go in the book. She agreed, but said she had to change one thing. Then she crossed out the 82 and wrote in 85. She wrote the poem in 2012, but at 84 going on 85, it’s obviously still relevant.
When I got home I showed Jon all of Mary’s poems and told him we needed a title. He read through them and picked out three different phrases from three different poems. The last one was How To Dance. I haven’t run it by Mary yet, but we both agreed it would be the perfect title. Now we just need one of Jon’s photos for the cover and we’ll be ready to publish.