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The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon

Poems
Jane Kenyon
Published twenty-five years after her untimely death, The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon presents the essential work of one of America’s most cherished poets—celebrated for her tenacity, spirit, and grace. In their inquisitive explorations and direct language, Jane Kenyon’s poems disclose a quiet certainty in the natural world and a lifelong dialogue with her faith and her questioning of it. As a crucial aspect of these beloved poems of companionship, she confronts her struggle with severe depression on its own stark terms. Selected by Kenyon’s husband, Donald Hall, just before his death in 2018, The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon collects work from across a life and career that will be, as she writes in one poem, “simply lasting.”
 
There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
 
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
            —from “Happiness”

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-64445-019-2
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
120
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.25
“Jane Kenyon had a virtually faultless ear. She was an exquisite master of the art of poetry.”—Wendell Berry
 

About the Author

Jane  Kenyon
Credit: Ken Williams
Jane Kenyon was born in Ann Arbor and graduated from the University of Michigan. She published four collections of poetry during her lifetime—From Room to Room (Alice James Books, 1978), The Boat of Quiet Hours (Graywolf Press, 1986), Let Evening Come (Graywolf Press, 1990), and Constance (Graywolf Press, 1993)—and a volume of translations, Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova (Eighties Press/Ally Press, 1985). She is the author of a posthumous collection, Otherwise: New & Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1996). A Hundred White Daffodils (Graywolf Press, 1999) collects Kenyon’s essays, interviews, newspaper columns, and other work. Before his death, her husband, Donald Hall, selected The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon (Graywolf Press, 2020). Kenyon lived in Wilmot, New Hampshire, until her death in 1995.
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Praise

  • “Amidst all of Jane Kenyon’s unyielding and absolute clarity . . . it’s easy to forget she was a visionary too, a mystic. . . . These poems seem to orbit a nucleus of ecstatic awareness, of self-surrender. . . . The systems Kenyon creates here feel open, sweeping, and endless, like water bending over a horizon.’”—Kaveh Akbar
  • “The poems of Jane Kenyon are lodestars. I can think of no better way to navigate life than to keep her work close, as I have always done. ”—Dani Shapiro
     
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