Otherwise: new and selected poems
"Otherwise" collects a lifetime's work of poetry by one of our most cherished poets. Opening with twenty poems and including generous selections from Jane Kenyon's four previous books-- "From Room to Room," "The Boat of Quiet Hours," "Let Evening Come," and "Constance"-- this collection was selected and arranged by Kenyon shortly before her death in April 1995.
This extensive collection 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 at the poet's New Hampshire home. The shadow of depression in Jane Kenyon's verse has the force of a spiritual presence-- a god, demon, angel. Yet her work emphasizes the constant effort of her imagination to redeem her suffering. As her husband Donald 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."
"Jane Kenyon is our Akhmatova. She will be read and remembered here as Akhmatova is read and remembered over there. For this we give no thanks because the gift is beyond thanks. But how deeply we are indebted!"
Jane Kenyon was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1947. She published four collections of poetry and translated the poetry of Anna Akhmatova. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN Voelcker Award, and was featured with her husband Donald Hall in the Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers special, "A Life Together." She died in April 1995 after fifteen months of struggle with leukemia.
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