Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, dies aged 83

Much-loved American poet Mary Oliver died Thursday of lymphoma. She was 83. Jennifer Benka, president and executive director of the American Academy of Poets, speaks about Oliver's life and legacy.
American poet Mary Oliver, pictured above at Maria Shriver's 2010 Women's Conference, has died at the age of 83. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Mary Oliver was a poet who could calm your heart rate with her words. Her poems about nature, animals and the outdoors reached countless people and earned her a Pulitzer Prize. She died yesterday at the age of 83. 

Oliver wrote 15 books of poetry and became one of the best loved poets in the U.S. Her fans included Hillary Clinton and Gwyneth Paltrow. Her poems were often stripped down and observational, which meant that some critics found her to be earnest. In a rare interview, Oliver said, "One thing I do know is that poetry, to be understood, must be clear. It mustn't be fancy."

Jennifer Benka is the president and executive director of the American Academy of Poets. She spoke to guest host Laurie Brown on the phone from New York to talk about Oliver's life and legacy.

Produced by Diane Eros

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