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Jane Kenyon Collected Poems Paperback – 4 Sep 2007

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Ferociously beautiful, silence itself 2 Jan 2006
By kjgrow - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Simplicity 13 Sep 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Jane Kenyon has become a posthumous icon of a poet. Much of her public awareness is due to the incredible devotion to her and her gifts as a writer by her husband, fellow poet and writer Donald Hall. Their 23-year marriage will doubtless go down in literary history as one of the more mutually inspiring relationships in poetry. Their life in New England didn't end with Jane Kenyon's death from leukemia in 1995 at age 47: Donald Hall has memorialized her rare gifts in posthumous publication s of her works. In his words 'With rare exceptions, we remained aware of each other's feelings. It took me half my life, more than half, to discover with Jane's guidance that two people could live together and remain kind.'

Jane Kenyon's poems celebrate the plain things our eyes edit if we diminish our sensitivity. She makes us aware of the common parcels of beauty that fill the world, that elevate the spirit. Her own episodes of depression, fought valiantly through periods of failed bone marrow transplant, in response to her husband's encounter with colon cancer - all can be traced to certain passages, but ever with the ability to see light from the coming horizon. She examines the plain, avoids trite emotion, and reveals the sanctity of each atom our minds can embrace if we remain always receptive.

This is a magnificent book of fine poetry. It is exquisitely written: it is inspirational. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, September 05
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
You won't need much more..... 13 Sep 2005
By J. Kelleher - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Many families have a book or two that have an exalted place in the home - the Bible, the OED, an old scrapbook or a favourite Little Golden Book. Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems will be the volume that will be in my home, to be read, cherished and passed on to my children. It sits with me while I watch Red Sox games or drink a glass of Eberle cabernet. There are few books greater than this one.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A twentieth-century's lifetime of exploration, growth, development, contemplation and insight are remembered 9 Nov 2005
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Collected Poems gathers all of contemporary poet Jane Kenyon's published poems into a single hardcover volume, including all the poetry in her previous volumes: "From Room to Room", "The Boat of Quiet Hours", "Let Evening Come" and Constance" as well as the posthumously published "Otherwise" and "A Hundred White Daffodils", four poems never previously published in book form, and her translations in "Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova". A twentieth-century's lifetime of exploration, growth, development, contemplation and insight are remembered amid the gentle pages of this impressive life's work. On the Road: Though this land is not my own / I will never forget it, / or the waters of its ocean, / fresh and delicately icy. // Sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk, / and the air drunk, like wine. / Late sun lays bare / the rosy limbs of the pine trees. // And the sun goes down in waves of ether / in such a way that I can't tell / if the day is ending, or the world, / or if the secret of secrets is within me again.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
a masterpiece 19 Feb 2009
By A. Thiele - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a book I read three times in a row because I could not stand parting with it, and by parting I simply mean putting back on my shelves.

Jane Kenyon's style reminds me of Billy Collins's (especially "The Trouble With Poetry"): the poems are accessible and yet carefully crafted, they tell a clear story in mesmerizing language. It is obvious that Kenyon would have become a poet as well-known as Collins and her husband Donald Hall, had she not died prematurely; one feels blessed to have this collection at last, a decade after her death.

Kenyon displays enormous talent. She writes timeless poems about her life in Maine, her bouts of depression, Hall and his illness (he was sick before she was), and the disease that will ultimately kill her. Her love for Hall permeates her work - the quiet strength of it is truly inspiring. Any reader will find in this collection many poems that speak to him (or her). People who enjoy reflecting in nature and paying attention to life's little details will particularly cherish this book.
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