Otherwise: New and Selected Poems

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 Room, The Boat of Quiet Hours, Let Evening Come, and Constance this collection was selected and arranged by Kenyon herself alongside her husband, the esteemed poet DoOtherwise 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 Room, The Boat of Quiet Hours, Let 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.
Otherwise New and Selected Poems 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

  • Title: Otherwise: New and Selected Poems
  • Author: Jane Kenyon Donald Hall
  • ISBN: 9781555972660
  • Page: 175
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Otherwise: New and Selected Poems”

    1. I've never experienced such loud whispers. Here's my favorite from the collectionHAVING IT OUT WITH MELANCHOLY1 FROM THE NURSERYWhen I was born, you waited behind a pile of linen in the nursery, and when we were alone, you lay down on top of me, pressingthe bile of desolation into every pore.And from that day on everything under the sun and moon made me sad -- even the yellow wooden beads that slid and spun along a spindle on my crib.You taught me to exist without gratitude. You ruined my manner [...]

    2. This book is a classic. A poignant and well-crafted book. I often use Kenyon's poems as examples of emotion, understatement, and accessibility. The old "show, don't tell" rule. She is a master at it and pulls the reader smack in the middle of her experience.

    3. Kenyon's book of selected poems was my unlikely companion on our flights to and from Pittsburgh over Christmas--unlikely because I usually prefer fiction on planes. But I loved the strange feeling of sinking into her white space and into the hush of her northeastern imagery--the nuthatch spiraling down the tree, the laundry (yes, always), the unused barn with a moon peeking around it, the way the day looks through the eyes of someone struggling with depression and illness and quiet loss. All the [...]

    4. Touching. I loved the poems about campers at the lake. So much loss in this book - and many peonies. Also my favorite flower

    5. I appreciated learning about Jane Kenyon's life and reading through a large representation of her work, but I just couldn't get into the majority of her poems. Which was weird, because I saw a lot of my personal style reflected here, but we both have a problem with creating universal poetry, poetry that speaks to an audience larger than ourselves. Too many personal references, I think is the problem, although I'm not entirely sure. The poem that enticed me to seek out the rest of her work was "L [...]

    6. I read this after reading Donald Hall's book "Without" about his life with Jane Kenyon and her illness, having only read her earliest book of poems beforehand. As such, I felt a bit like I had an insight to her when reading her poems that one doesn't always have. In the end, though, few poems resonated with me. Perhaps because I didn't tend to like her style, her line breaks, and some of the depression that bled out onto the page of too many poems. I like wistfulness, poignancy, not depression, [...]

    7. I only recently discovered Jane Kenyon, but her poetry is somewhat haunting in its description of depression and everyday life. At the same time, she will never be one of my very favorite poets because overall, her poems are hit or miss. But the title poem is really amazing, as are a couple others in this collection, and the ones that are "hits" are really, really good.

    8. I love Kenyon. She's fabulous at what she does, although she sometimes seems unable to break out of "what she does" and occassionally succumbs to lesser instincts (as in "The Shirt"). Still, her poetry is poignant and full of wonderful imagery. Five stars for the good stuff.

    9. The poet began this collection as she was sick with leukemia, and then dying at home, and with the help of her husband, the poet Donald Hall. I find it so interesting that most are not new poems, about her illness and death, which is tragic, because it seems like we could have learned desperately needed tools from her, about dying. She writes a lot about a parent’s death, and that resonates with me since it has been 2 weeks since my mother died. I didn’t know these poems would be that meanin [...]

    10. Jane Kenyon, along with her husband, Donald Hall, are two of my favorite poets. Both write concrete, accessible verse that communicates the universal through their particular experience. In this collection, Kenyon's newest poems were written after her diagnosis of the cancer that eventually killed her. She suffers greatly, but strives to find the good in a horrible situation. Her struggle is heartbreaking, sad, yet beautiful. It may not replace the beauty of Heaven and ultimate redemption, but K [...]

    11. I much preferred Kenyon's shorter works to this. I generally much prefer smaller poetry books to compilations. I'm wowed by "Constance", really enjoyed "Let Evening Come" and liked the rest of this work. This took me forever to finish. I expect to go back to "Constance" over and over. I really wanted to like this more. So it goes.

    12. This is my favorite book of poetry, lush and dark with moments of clarity. I reread it now and then. It's time yet again.

    13. Happy I discovered her poetry. I have new favorite poems; Who, Otherwise and Let Evening Come. Thank you Jane Kenyon.

    14. This moving collection of poetry was compiled during the last months of the poet’s life, as she was battling leukemia. It contains selections from her previously published collections of poetry, as well as a number of new poems. The story of its compilation is told in the afterword, written by Jane Kenyon’s husband (former U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall). Crying while reading an afterword was a new experience for me. The poetry itself is beautiful, and very accessible. The themes center arou [...]

    15. Kenyon is one of this century's best poets and here is the book to prove it. Some of the poems were a little too light for me, but otherwise, a very well put together collection. Sample poem from Otherwise:Happiness There's just no accounting for happiness, or the way it turns up like a prodigalwho comes back to the dust at your feethaving squandered a fortune far away. And how can you not forgive?You make a feast in honor of whatwas lost, and take from its place the finestgarment, which you sav [...]

    16. Kenyon writes about domestic life and depression with the same poignancy, the same swift, sharp language. Her tone is both fragile and defiant; her subject matter often bursts with life and quietly mourns it. Here, of course, one must mention the poems “Otherwise,” “After an Illness, Walking the Dog,” and “Full Moon in Winter.” Kenyon also writes of the vast canyons of space between lovers, the kind that can seem so full and, then, so empty— poems like “Chrysanthemums,” “Sept [...]

    17. I have been trying to define my own preferences for poety by reading many different poets. This volume by Jane Kenyon relies on mostly everyday experiences to define a universal feeling. I especially connected with her poems about depression, which I have personally suffered. I found many other poems which transformed seemingly ordinary observations into something special.For example;: "I study the cat's face and find a trace of white around each eye, as if he made himself up today for a part in [...]

    18. This is Jane Kenyon's final collection of poems, published in 1996. Kenyon died in 1995 at the age of 47 after a 15 month battle with leukemia. Some of the poems in the book reflect on her illness, or that of her husband, poet Donald Hall, who also had a struggle with cancer during their marriage. Some deal with the deaths of other loved ones.I've always loved Kenyon's poetry and have read this book, or much of it, before. But having recently read Without: Poems and The Painted Bed, both books o [...]

    19. I have spent the last few days with Jane Kenyon's poems. Here are some thoughts: Though she seemed attached to ellipses like Emily Dickinson was attached to dashes, her poetry strikes a chord in me that few poets have found, especially in poems like "Having It Out With Melancholy." I read these poems, and I feel as though I am looking intimately at my own mind. This feeling of being so weighted down with sadness and dread but still wanting so intensely to see life's beauty, to see with clarity t [...]

    20. The outward simplicity and honesty of Kenyon's poems have always touched me. Her observations about her life, her work, and the quiet beauty of the rural world around her have always seemed so wise and almost otherworldly to me. Knowing that she was struggling to come to terms with her own mortality as she wrote many of the poems in this final collection made reading them all the more poignant, and her husband Donald Hall's tribute to her in the afterword is both a testimony of his love for her [...]

    21. Someone told me that the first half of your life is about addition (of loves, responsibility, things, etc) and the second half is about subtraction - paring down because you want to do that and losing people and all the things you strove to acquire. I think of this as my subtraction poetry book. The poems are accessible and graceful - and, I think they would resonate for anyone. I love these lines from April Chores:Like a mad red brainThe involute rhubarb leafThinks it's way upThrough loam.If yo [...]

    22. I loved Jane Kenyon's poems in college (18 years ago), but had not read her much since then. I think that when you first read these poems, you are simply struck that what she is doing with her words is moving and effective. Then, with time and experience of much more difficult and clever poets, coming back to read Kenyon's poems is a revelation of what she is actually doing, and that her power is not encoded, arcane or mysterious. Her poems are simplicity itself. They are pictures parsed to thei [...]

    23. I'd like to buy a copy of this collection. Jane Kenyon's work, as her husband describes, is masterful in presenting "the art of the luminous particular." It took me through the summer to read because of practical demands always vying for time, but to its credit when I picked it up, I often lingered on a poem instead of turning the page. The language is unassuming but potent and evocative, surprising one with transcendence found among common objects and everyday occurrences. I feel a strange atta [...]

    24. Collection of Kenyon's poems- including the entire collection titled Let Evening Come. Some very nice stuff. Her descriptions of New Hampshire especially speak to me. She's caught the sights- sounds- smells and feel of living in rural New Hampshire. Still- much of her poetry has an underlying sense of despair and darkness. If I didn't know she suffered from depression- I'd probably have figured it out from her poems (even without the poems where she talks specifically about anti-depressant medic [...]

    25. As I read this book of Jane Kenyon's poetry, I often wonder how people live without poetry. What a blessing her writing is! Jane Kenyon's poetry speaks of the brevity of life ("Otherwise"), the wonder of everyday life ("Things", "This Morning"), the sadness that we all will face ("Coats"), the ability be aware of and capture the simple moments of life ("Cleaning the Closet"),and so much more about our life here on this earth. How I wish her life could have been longer, that leukemia had not take [...]

    26. Peonies at DuskWhite peonies blooming along the porchsend out lightwhile the rest of the yard grows dim.Outrageous flowers as big as humanheads! They're staggeredby their own luxuriance: I hadto prop them up with stakes and twine.The moist air intensifies their scent,and the moon moves around the barnto find our what it's coming from.In the darkening June eveningI draw a blossom near, and bending closesearch it as a woman searchesa loved one's face.

    27. Favorites, in chronological order:From Room to RoomHereThe NeedleMy MotherIroning Grandmother's TableclothFull Moon in WinterYear DayNow That We LiveAt the Town DumpDrink, Eat, SleepSummer 1890: Near the GulfThe BatSongThingsIn the Grove: The Poet at TenTaking Down the TreeThe Blue BowlThe LetterWe Let the Boat DriftHeavy Summer RainAfter An Illness, Walking the DogLooking at StarsThe StrollerBiscuitIn Memory of JackThe Way Things Are in Franklin

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