Traveling Upstream with Mary Oliver

Lay Leaders: Jana Peirce and Eleanor Adasiak 

“In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.” 

Mary Oliver grew up in Ohio in the 1950s in a town that was no more or less congenial to the fact of poetry than any other small town in America. She had few friends and parents that let her go truant to walk in the woods. She writes that, “Estrangement from the mainstream of that time and place was an un­avoidable precondition” to the life she chose from among all the lives available to her. Join us as we travel upstream with Mary Oliver through her memories of a solitary childhood in which the words of Walt Whitman kept her sane and taught her to be true to her own best and wildest inclinations. We will use words, images and sounds to dramatize the first three short essays in her book, Upstream.

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