Pushkin Industries to Release Two New Audio Works By and About Mary Oliver
Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets in modern history, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-eight and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. Up until now, Oliver’s essay collection, UPSTREAM: Selected Essays (on sale 4/18/23; Pushkin Industries) has never been recorded for audio nor has there been an audio collection of Oliver’s work that is anything like the upcoming original audiobook from Pushkin Industries, WILD AND PRECIOUS: A Celebration of Mary Oliver (on sale 4/11/23; Pushkin Industries).
WILD AND PRECIOUS artfully brings Oliver’s words to the audio format, weaving together recordings of her poems by complementary voices that also reflect on her legacy. Executive Producer Kerri Kolen and Senior Producer Helena de Groot (host and producer of the podcast Poetry Off The Shelf) understand that there is no substitute for hearing a poet read their own work with the proper cadence and tonality, so this audio tapestry also features many poems previously recorded and read by Oliver herself, while the rest are lovingly read by contemporary award-winning poets, bestselling authors, and other luminaries.
One such luminary is actress and activist Sophia Bush, who shepherds listeners through the original audiobook. As Bush says in the introduction, “The words that [Oliver] puts down on paper jump out at me and remind me to be curious and seek beauty, to walk in the quiet woods and listen, not just with my ears but with my whole heart.”
Wild and Precious includes a few dozen poems (including “The Summer Day,” “When Death Comes,” and “In Blackwater Woods”) alongside abiding analysis and admiration for Oliver’s craft and sheds new light on the writer. For the first time, Oliver’s students from Bennington College open up about what it was like to have her for a teacher, friends and neighbors recall her love of place and nature, multi-faith leaders contemplate her spiritual lessons, and high-profile artists and fans like Carmen Maria Machado, Ross Gay, Rainn Wilson, Samin Nosrat, Claire Bidwell Smith, and Susan Cain, among others, reflect on the profound influence of her poetry on their own work and lives.
Oliver’s essay collection, UPSTREAM, The New York Times bestseller and one of O, The Oprah Magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year will be read by contemporary poets Hala Alyan, Joy Sullivan, and Kate Baer. Here, Mary Oliver reflects on her willingness to lose herself within the beauty and mysteries of the natural world and the world of literature. Emphasizing the significance of her childhood “friend” Walt Whitman, who inspired her to vanish into the world of her own writing, Oliver meditates on the forces that allowed her to create a life for herself out of work and love.
The deal for both works was brokered by Jesseca Salky in association with Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency, on behalf of NW Orchard, with permission of Bill Reichlum for Mary Oliver and Beacon Press and will be released this April in celebration of poetry month. These audiobooks will add to Pushkin’s growing list of titles including last year’s Inside Voice by Lake Bell and Malcolm Gladwell’s Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon, which was recently nominated in the Audiobook of the Year category for this year’s Audie Awards hosted by the Audio Publishers Association.
ABOUT MARY OLIVER
Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty-eight. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
ABOUT SOPHIA BUSH
Sophia Bush is an American actress, activist, and entrepreneur. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America and has starred in a range of television and film projects such as the hit comedy “John Tucker Must Die”, “Incredibles 2”, “One Tree Hill,” Dick Wolf’s “Chicago PD,” Hulu’s “Love, Victor,” and NBC’s “This Is Us.” She has earned multiple Teen Choice Awards in the categories of “Choice Movie Actress: Comedy,” “Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller,” and “Choice Movie: Breakout Female.” Bush also recently starred in and served as a producer on the CBS television series “Good Sam.” She is the host of the podcast, “Work in Progress,” as well as co-host of the iHeartRadio podcast “Drama Queens” alongside Hilarie Burton Morgan and Bethany Joy Lenz, during which they relive and reclaim nine seasons of the beloved CW drama, “One Tree Hill.”
Named one of the most charitable celebrities by CNN, she devotes her free time to bettering girl’s education and the environment. Since taking to social media to share her passion for change, Bush has inspired young people to join her in raising nearly half a million dollars for charity, built three primary schools in Guatemala and Laos, and served as a global ambassador for Glamour’s The Girl Project. She also co-founded and sits on the board for I am a voter® , a nonpartisan movement that aims to create a cultural shift around voting and civic engagement. In 2021, she co-founded and sits on the board of Fashionkind, an organization that produces ethical and environmentally friendly luxury fashion from around the world. Most recently, Bush joined the First Women’s Bank as a Strategic Advisor alongside Billie Jean King and others.
ABOUT HALA ALYAN
Hala Alyan is the author of the novel SALT HOUSES, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize. Her latest novel, “THE ARSONISTS’ CITY, was a finalist for the 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize. She is also the author of four award-winning collections of poetry, most recently THE TWENTY-NINTH YEAR. Her work has been published by The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets, LitHub, The New York Times Book Review and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her family, where she is a clinical psychologist and professor at New York University.
ABOUT JOY SULLIVAN
Joy Sullivan is a Portland-based poet and the author of Instructions for Traveling West (forthcoming from Dial Press/Random House). She is the founder of Sustenance, a writing community designed to nourish your creative practice and holds a masters degree in poetry and a language arts teaching certification. For years, she served as the poet-in-residence for the Wexner Center for the Arts and has guest-lectured in classrooms from Stanford to Florida International University.
ABOUT KATE BAERKate Baer is the 3x New York Times bestselling author of What Kind Of Woman, I Hope This Finds You Well, & And Yet. Her work has also been published in The New Yorker, Literary Hub, Huffington Post and The New York Times.