Shooting an Elephant
...As I started forward practically the whole population of the quarter flocked out of the houses and followed me. They had seen the rifle and were all shouting excitedly that I was going to shoot the elephant…It was a bit of fun to them, as it would be to an English crowd; besides they wanted the meat. It made me vaguely uneasy. I had no intention of shooting the elephant- I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary....
American poet and essayist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Oliver began writing poems during her teenage years. She briefly attended Ohio State University and Vassar College without receiving a degree, choosing instead to concentrate on writing poetry. Today Oliver is the best-selling poet in the United States. Her work, because of its detailed and appreciative attention to nature, is often compared to that of Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau; much of her imagery is drawn from her daily walks in Provincetown, Massachusetts, her home for over forty years. Her many books include Voyage, and Other Poems (1963); American Primitive (1984), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Dreamwork (1986); New and Selected Poems (1992), winner of the National Book Award; Why I Wake Early: New Poems (2004); Long Life: Essays and Other Writings (2004); and Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (2010). See also maryoliver.net.