In his American Poetry Review profile of Jane Kenyon, Liam Rector identifies two attributes of the poet that I found particularly striking and that stayed with me while reading this wonderful collection. He writes that "Jane was one of those women who became ferociously beautiful in middle age" and that she, in comparison to others in their literary circles, was "silence itself."
To read Jane Kenyon in this collected and chronological format is such a joy, as her work is intensely personal. Coming to the end, the reader feels as if a life has been shared, one that is simple yet so rich, gratefully and gracefully lived, always acutely aware. She writes about her marriage, her illness, her husband's cancer, her friends, her home, her depression, her travels, her world. There is an element of domesticity and femininity in Jane Kenyon's verse - she can make hanging out a line of laundry seem like an act of worship - but the overriding motivation is quiet observation, giving pause and space for those lovely transient moments, whispered failings, private joys, intimate discoveries.
This is a lovely book and will be a treasured collection for years.