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by Mary Oliver

Flare Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Rhyme scheme? Meter? We don't need no stinkin' rhyme scheme. And this poem certainly wants nothing to do with meter. This is Mary Oliver we're talking about, and in The Leaf and the Cloud, she's ab...


If we had to help our speaker fill out her tax return, we'd be up a creek. We don't know where she lives, what her name is, what she does for a living, and we certainly don't know her social securi...


Across the twelve different sections of this poem, we move around quite a bit. There are a few interior settings: the old barn and dining room from Section 2, the house in Section 5. But mostly we'...

What's Up With the Title?

A flare is something we use to draw attention, or as a signal for help. As in, hey, my car is broken down over here—don't run into it! Or, hey airplane, I'm down here stranded on this island, ple...

Calling Card

Behind every poem there's a sort of claim: "read me, listen to me, I have interesting things to tell you and show you." Of course most poems don't directly acknowledge it, but many try to engage us...


All the depth and connections might not be immediately obvious, but our speaker makes it her business to make sure we can grasp what she's talking about. No big words. Except for bobolinks.


She'd like to thank the Academy! "Flare" was selected for The Best American Poetry 1999 collection. We can understand why. (Source.)Mary Oliver is so popular (and her descriptions so enchanting) th...

Steaminess Rating

There's just a touch of sexiness, when our speaker uses that simile "like a lover at first touching." (10.4-5)

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