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Otherwise

New & Selected Poems
Jane Kenyon; Afterword by Donald Hall
Otherwise collects a lifetime's work by one of contemporary poetry's most cherished talents. Opening with twenty new poems and including generous selections from Jane Kenyon's four previous books—From Room to RoomThe Boat of Quiet HoursLet Evening Come, and Constance—this collection was selected and arranged by Kenyon herself—alongside her husband, the esteemed poet Donald Hall—shortly before her death in April 1995.

This extensive gathering reveals a scrupulously crafted body of work in which poem after poem achieves a rare and somber grace. Light and shade are never far apart in these telling narratives of life and love and work at the poet's rural New Hampshire home. The shadow of depression in Kenyon's verse, which grew much darker and longer at certain intervals, has the force and heft of a spiritual presence—a god, demon, angel. Yet her work emphasizes the constant effort of her imagination to confront and even find redemption in suffering. However quiet or domesticated or subtle in her moods and methods, Kenyon was a poet who sought to discover the extraordinary within the ordinary, and her poems continue to make this discovery. As Hall writes in the afterword to Otherwise, we share "her joy in the body and the creation, in flowers, music, and paintings, in hayfields and a dog."

"Here was a poet who wrote about traditional subjects—her family, the farm she shared with her husband, the rhythms of the natural world—and yet was celebrated by some of [the twentieth] century's most prominent writers and publishers. Kenyon's work was a model of simplicity: the perfect voice for an age that shuns adornment . . . There is often a strong undertow beneath the smooth exteriors."—Elizabeth Lund, The Christian Science Monitor

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-266-0
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
230
Trim Size
6 x 9
"Her words, with their quiet, rapt force, their pensiveness and wit, come to us from natural speech, from the Bible and hymns, from which she derived the singular psalmlike music that is hers alone."—The New York Times Book Review

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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