Winner of the 2005 Walt Whitman Award of The Academy of American Poets
"[O'Reilley's is] a style that celebrates . . . that mystery we call the soul. That part of us that is of another world, come perhaps to instruct us in this one"
-Mary Oliver, from her judge's citation
Half Wild is spiritual biography wound backwards, spiraling into the world rather than out of it. Though it reflects on the paradoxes of our violent times, Mary Rose O'Reilley's collection hangs on to life like the bee "up to his hips in love" who "will fall asleep in the snow" and "wake up still kissing his flower." In O'Reilley's poems, human, animal, and mineral creations interpenetrate and share surreal conversation-even stones exchange stories of "hot times in the magma" and animals are listened to intently. Here sacred inquiry is grounded in a passion for the natural world, resolving questions through lyric, erotic, and sensual response. The poems of Half Wild revel in desire and longing as instruments of theological critique.