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Collected Poems


Jane Kenyon is considered one of America’s best contemporary poets. Her previous collection, Otherwise: New & Selected Poems, published just after her death in 1995, has been a favorite among readers, with over 60,000 copies in print, and is a contemporary classic.

Now at the ten-year anniversary of her death, Kenyon’s Collected Poems assembles all of her published poetry in one book. Included here are the complete poems found in her four previous volumes—From Room to Room, ...

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Jane Kenyon is considered one of America’s best contemporary poets. Her previous collection, Otherwise: New & Selected Poems, published just after her death in 1995, has been a favorite among readers, with over 60,000 copies in print, and is a contemporary classic.

Now at the ten-year anniversary of her death, Kenyon’s Collected Poems assembles all of her published poetry in one book. Included here are the complete poems found in her four previous volumes—From Room to Room, The Boat of Quiet Hours, Let Evening Come, and Constance—as well as the poems that appear in her posthumous volumes Otherwise and A Hundred White Daffodils, four poems never before published in book form, and her translations in Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
For Otherwise: New & Selected Poems:

“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.” —New York Times Book Review

“Few poets are as flawlessly down-to-earth as Kenyon: her progress is natural, not affected or rushed. The volume is more than an opus; it is the documentary, the testimony, of a rich human life.” —Boston Book Review

“This book chronicles the uncertainty of living as culpable, temporary creatures, and catalogues ‘anger, the inner/arsonist’ as well as triumph. We have lost Kenyon, but ‘God does not leave us/comfortless, so let evening come’; Otherwise is proof of that.” —The Nation

“Kenyon’s poetry is honest and earnest, rich in imagery yet free of clutter. This collection is generous, cohesive and moving.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Personal, autobiographical lyric poetry is rarely this fine, this clear, this egoless, this moving.” —Booklist, starred review

“One may also read these precise and limpid works simply for the beauty of their expression, for their insight into the life of a woman prey to depression, obsessed with absence and death, and highly reliant on the natural world as a source of consolation. These are poems of extreme tenderness. . . . In a just world, Otherwise—beautifully designed by Graywolf—would become a bestseller.” —Washington Post Book World

Jon Tribble
Still, as Otherwise stands as a memorial to the writer's life, Collected Poems is a celebration of the journey the poet took in the development of that life. The new collection follows Kenyon from her first book, From Room to Room, published in 1978, through the last poem she started after her illness had advanced, "The Sick Wife." By reconstructing Kenyon's books in their published versions, Collected Poems provides a complete picture of the poet becoming more confident in her craft and expanding the ambitions of her work.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
It's been ten years since the death of Kenyon, a beloved poet whom every reader might regard as a best friend. Published shortly after her death, Otherwise: New & Selected Poems offered the essential Kenyon. This collection adds 35 poems to give us all her works in a single setting-a powerful testimonial to the trajectory of her career. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555974282
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Kenyon is the author of Otherwise: New & Selected Poems and A Hundred White Daffodils. She lived with her husband, Donald Hall, in Wilmot, New Hampshire, until her death in 1995.

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Read an Excerpt


Let the light of late afternoon shine through chinks in the barn, moving up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing as a woman takes up her needles and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned in long grass. Let the stars appear and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.

Let the wind die down. Let the shed go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop in the oats, to air in the lung let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't be afraid. God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.

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Table of Contents

From Room to Room (1978)

1: "Under a Blue Mountain"

For the Night

Leaving Town

From Room to Room


Two Days Alone

The Cold

This Morning

The Thimble


Finding a Long Gray Hair

Hanging Pictures in Nanny's Room

In Several Colors

The Clothes Pin

2: "Edges of the Map"

The Needle

My Mother

Cleaning the Closet

Ironing Grandmother's Tablecloth

The Box of Beads

3: "Colors"

At a Motel near O'Hare Airport

The First Eight Days of the Beard

Changing Light

The Socks

The Shirt

Starting Therapy


From the Back Steps


4: "Afternoon in the House"

At the Feeder

The Circle on the Grass


Afternoon in the House

Full Moon in Winter

After an Early Frost

Year Day

The Suitor

American Triptych

Now That We Live

The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986)

I: "Walking Along in Late Winter"

Evening at a Country Inn

At the Town Dump

Killing the Plants

The Painters

Back from the City

Deer Season

November Calf

The Beaver Pool in December

Apple Dropping into Deep Early Snow

Drink, Eat, Sleep

Rain in January

Depression in Winter

Bright Sun after Heavy Snow

II: "Mud Season"

The Hermit

The Pond at Dusk

High Water

Evening Sun

Summer 1890: Near the Gulf

Photograph of a Child on a Vermont Hillside

What Came to Me

Main Street: Tilton, New Hampshire


Frost Flowers

The Sandy Hole


Sun and Moon


February: Thinking of Flowers

Portrait of a Figure Near Water

Mud Season

III: "The Boat of Quiet Hours"

Thinking of Madame Bovary

April Walk

Philosophy in Warm Weather

No Steps



Camp Evergreen

The Appointment

Sick at Summer's End

Along for a Week

The Bat

Siesta: Barbados

Trouble with Math in a One-Room Country School

The Little Boat

IV: "Things"


At the Summer Solstice

Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer

The Visit

Parents' Weekend: Camp Kenwood

Reading Late of the Death of Keats


Campers Leaving: Summer 1981

Travel: After a Death

Yard Sale

Siesta: Hotel Frattina

After Traveling

Twilight: After Haying


Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks


Let Evening Come (1990)

Three Songs at the End of Summer

After the Hurricane

After Working Long on One Thing

Waking in January before Dawn

Catching Frogs

In the Grove: The Poet at Ten

The Pear

Christmas Away from Home

Taking Down the Tree

Dark Morning: Snow

Small Early Valentine

After the Dinner Party

Leaving Barbados

The Blue Bowl

The Letter

We Let the Boat Drift

Spring Changes


April Chores

The Clearing


Private Beach

At the Spanish Steps in Rome


Staying at Grandma's

Church Fair

A Boy Goes into the World

The Three Susans

Learning in the First Grade

At the Public Market Museum: Charleston, South Carolina

Lines for Akhmatova

Heavy Summer Rain

September Garden Party

While We Were Arguing

Dry Winter

On the Aisle

At the Winter Solstice

The Guest

Father and Son

Three Crows

Spring Snow

Ice Out

Going Away

Now Where?

Letter to Alice

After an Illness, Walking the Dog

Wash Day


Cultural Exchange


Summer: 6:00 a.m.

Walking Notes: Hamden, Connecticut

Last Days

Looking at Stars

At the Dime Store

Let Evening Come

With the Dog at Sunrise

Constance (1993)

I: "The Progress of a Beating Heart"

August Rain, after Haying

The Stroller

The Argument


Not Writing


II: "Tell me how to bear myself . . . "

Having It Out with Melancholy





Moving the Frame

Fear of Death Awakens Me

III: "Peonies at Dusk"

Winter Lambs

Not Here


In Memory of Jack

Insomnia at the Solstice

Peonies at Dusk

The Secret

IV: "Watch Ye, Watch Ye"

Three Small Oranges

A Portion of History


Sleepers in Jaipur

Gettysburg: July 1, 1863



Notes from the Other Side

Last Poems in Otherwise (1996) and in A Hundred White Daffodils (1999)


Mosaic of the Nativity: Serbia, Winter 1993

Man Eating

Man Waking

Man Sleeping




Drawing from the Past

The Call

In the Nursing Home

How Like the Sound

Eating the Cookies

Spring Evening


Afternoon at MacDowell


The Way Things Are in Franklin

Dutch Interiors

Reading Aloud to My Father

Woman, Why Are You Weeping?

The Sick Wife

The Uncollected Poems

What It's Like

Indolence in Early Winter

Breakfast at the Mount Washington Hotel

At the IGA: Franklin, New Hampshire

Translations: Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova (1985)

Index of Poem Titles and First Lines

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2005


    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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