"I consider myself kind of a reporter — one who uses words that are more like music and that have a choreography. I never think of myself as a poet; I just get up and write. For most of my life, I haven't had the structure of an actual job. When I was very young and decided I wanted to try to write as well as I could, I made a great list of all the things I would never have, because I thought poets never made any money. A house, a good car, I couldn't go out and buy fancy clothes or go to good restaurants. I had the necessities. Not that I didn't take some teaching jobs over the years — I just never took any interesting ones, because I didn't want to get interested. That's when I began to get up so early in the morning — you know I'm a 5 A.M. riser — so I could write for a couple of hours and then give my employer my very best second-rate energy...
You have to be in the world to understand what the spiritual is about, and you have to be spiritual in order to truly be able to accept what the world is about...I think about the spiritual a great deal. I like to think of myself as a praise poet....If I have any lasting worth, it will be because I have tried to make people remember what the Earth is meant to look like."
~ Mary Oliver, from "Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver," O Magazine, March 9, 2011