Dear Mary Oliver,

I first learned of you through another luminescent poet, my teacher, Lucille Clifton.  She suggested I read some of your poetry.  I was a displaced Wisconsinite in New York City and all I could write about were longings for home and the connections I felt to the natural world there.  When I first opened "White Pine," I was so happy.  Among the bricks and buildings, the sparkling sidewalks and busy streets of my temporary Manhattan landscape, I found comfort.  Your poetry has illuminated so many moments in my life.  I am grateful for having your company and insight these past 25 years. Connections with friends and students have grown stronger because of the truths you have always bravely spoken.  My partner and I also love that your books are always dedicated to Molly Malone Cook.  We light candles for you in Madison, Wisconsin and send love and gratitude your way. 

Thank you for being,

Mo O'Connor