You know how much I love Mary Oliver. Recently, I read an analysis of her poetry and it ends like this:
This is why we buy Mary Oliver collections—why we read and recommend certain of her poems. She accompanies us in our ramblings. We like our place in the world to be affirmed as comprehensible and describable, one where even the quietest of people don’t disappear. There’s a kind of self-centered harmony to the East Coast, and a distilled version of it exists in Mary Oliver’s poems. Her fans perhaps do not consciously like nature so much as they unconsciously like themselves.
Poetry as (unconscious) narcissism? Hmm.