In the fall of 1981, I met you at the Ohio Poetry Day awards.
Although this was the first poetry event that I had ever attended, what I remember more than anything else is that I met you on the page. Here was a poet, a woman, from Ohio, who wrote about a world that I admired. Your poetry was kind and familiar and friendly and tough and stubborn, and I fell in love with poetry.
I decided that I could be a poet, that poetry was worth writing. I later read many other poets, found much to admire in the written word, but first I found you, Mary Oliver. I have never picked up a book of yours since without remembering that you were my first friend in poetry.
Thank you, best wishes, many prayers.