In Memoriam, Faculty News

Remembering Mary Oliver

The Bennington College community celebrates the legacy of Mary Oliver, former faculty member and prizewinning poet.

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, 83, was a gifted poet whose work was awarded both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She was a faculty member at Bennington College from 1996-2001.

The poetic landscape is forever changed by Mary Oliver’s unmatched sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world. As a faculty member at Bennington College, she was known to walk the campus grounds at all hours with her dog, observing rural Vermont in all its splendor. She was a natural fit for these wild hills.

Oliver was a humble, generous, and patient teacher. She had an ecstatic appreciation for the earth and its animals. A prolific writer to the very end, she inspired students with her unwavering discipline and passion for her craft.

Mary Oliver left an indelible mark on Bennington’s literary history, and we are forever grateful to have shared her with the world.


Read Summer Brennan '01 on Oliver in The Paris Review: "Passing Mary Oliver at Dawn."

Read alumna Emily Popek's "Mary Oliver was My Teacher" in Electric Lit. 

Read a reflection on Oliver's poetry by Isabelle Parker '16 on the student-helmed blog Literary Bennington.