Collected Poems
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Collected Poems

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  562 ratings  ·  36 reviews
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 poet...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Graywolf Press
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She makes it look easy. Deceptively simple writing. Blows me away every time I read it.
Andrew Sydlik
Jane Kenyon’s Collected Poems chronicles works of deceptive simplicity, usually rooted in pictures of nature and domestic life. They are often straightforward descriptions of moments, told more through images than through metaphor or linguistic acrobatics. Perhaps this is why Kenyon seems to be ignored by the poetic community—I rarely see her name or work mentioned in poetry journals and interviews with poets. This is a shame, because her poems thrum with the kind of life and power that makes re...more
Margaux Laskey
i love jane kenyon. the sad fact that she's dead and will no longer produce great poetry is borderline devastating for me. i have this book by my bed and turn to it whenever i feel the need for some profundity, but not in a difficult to grasp sort of way, but in the moments of day to day life sort of way. simple imagery that seems benign, but i'm gasping and frequently teary as i read the last lines of her poems.
Reading this book again feels like finding a lost friend. These are poems to return to again and again, ones that show meaning in the mundane, everyday aspects of life, and makes sense of this life through observation of nature and the home. A contemplative read.
Jenni Simmons
Jan 25, 2008 Jenni Simmons rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Katy Hutson
Shelves: poetry
My words cannot do Jane Kenyon's poetry justice, so I'll just say: her poems are full of quiet peace and wisdom, and light. They make you seek out the quiet.
Don't fuck with this book.
I love still lives. I don't know why. I know nothing about art, really. But a still life just lets me sit and look and think in a way that other art sometimes doesn't. I was thrilled when this book came in the mail, and I saw the cover up close. I pondered the cover for minutes before cracking the spine.

I don't always "get" poems that read like prose, and yet aren't prose poems. There may be nothing syntactically unique about them, although I am sure the words are chosen with care. They don't ut...more
I was first drawn to Kenyon through an anthology that included, "Let Evening Come." It was a great introduction and one of the poems that I have memorized, but it is not my favorite of hers.

Kenyon lived a life of solitude with her husband, Donald Hall, on the Hall's family farm in New Hampshire until her death in 1994 of leukemia. She was only 47.

Kenyon's close observations of the land, weather, people, and herself and the simplicity of her language are what draw me too her. When something dear...more
I discovered this poet through listening to a "Writer's Almanac" a few months ago. I feel like I owe Garrison Keillor, or maybe the writers of the show Betsy Allister, Holly Vanderhaar a huge debt of gratitude. Amazing. This is the poet I've been waiting to read for my whole life, I'm seriously not understating. I can't really express how much I was moved by this work. Every poem in this book (with the exception of one, the very last one) left me saying "yes!" The sensibility is just what I've b...more
Dec 30, 2007 Samilja rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys modern prose/poetry and/or concise-yet-amazingly-descriptive imagery.
It's not as if you read a good book of poems and then never look at them again. If you like poetry, you'll re-read something you love over & over, discovering different angles of the thing each time. That's the story for me with this collection. This volume is an anthology of Kenyon's published works. It may contain some newly published pieces as well but I'm not sure. Whatever the case, this is the 'essential Kenyon' as it were and if you've read her before you'll want this. If you've not,...more
Whenever I read Kenyon's work, it is as if she is always there, recording these simple observations of life which strike you like utter truth. Her imagery, her choice of language, the flow, are all perfect and you wonder how she does it. How can she turn out these lines which are just waiting to pounce on you with the unexpectedness that honesty makes of life. You wonder again why you even bother with your own clumsy attempts, tripping over your pen and slipping on the ink. She has said what you...more
My favorite poet, tied with Louise Gluck.
Jami Lin
Garret Freymann-Weyr
Her poems hover in the space between Marie Howe's sharpness and Mary Oliver's abundant, cloying softness. Jenyon is not a lush writer, but she is not afraid of the parts of life that are commonly referred to as domestic, but she demands that they stand up to scrutiny.

If you want to see glimpses of your own quiet joy, despair, confusion or clarity reflected back to you with more intelligence and grace than is normal, Jane Kenyon is your poet.
Matthew K.
I think the reason I enjoy reading Jane Kenyon so much is because she doesn't seem to write poetry in order to convince the reader of her abilities. Much of her writing is about life in rural New England and every day mundane experiences, but she finds a way to recognize the beauty in nature and in life that surrounds her; this seemed to provide her the strength she needed to battle bouts of severe depression before she passed away from leukemia
Kenyon's style is almost transparent, so much so that you might miss the machinery that makes these poems tick. But like an old watch, part of the pleasure is observing the gears as they spin, working in tandem and making everything run smoothly.

For my money, the most successful -- I hesitate to say 'best', because there's plenty to like in the omitted work also -- poems are found in "From Room to Room," her first book.
Victoria Slotto
Kenyon's word-painting allows the reader a detailed glimpse of her life, her surroundings, her challenges. Accessible poetry--this is a volume that will not be shelved but picked up and browsed for those in-between moments. At the end of her work, there is a small collection of her translations of Anna Ahkmatova--translated into free verse because of the peculiarities of Russian-to-English meter and rhyme. Quite lovely.
I am not normally a fan of poetry. I enjoyed reading these poems, though. There are a lot of poems in this collection that many, myself included, can relate to. I enjoyed the variety of poems. You can do a close reading and interrupt the poems and what is underlying in them or you can read them for pleasure and the straightforwardness. This is one book of poetry that will actually stay on my shelves.
Nov 19, 2007 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry
Jane Kenyon's work is often anthologized, so after being wowed by her short, stark poems, I decided to go to the source and see what all the fuss was about.

She speaks directly to the lonely in short lyric poems--loss and good humor commingle in riveting ways. She also writes about nature and weather really well, which has been especially interesting to me lately. I like her.
Ronda Jean
Published ten years after her death, Jane Kenyon's poems are amongst the best of modern poetry. She is able to speak directly to my heart and her wit and natural style shine through every verse. This book is a pleasure to own and revisit again and again, much as you would an old friend.
Kim Malavey
I'm not a poetry lover. In fact, this is the first book of poetry I've really loved.
I can't believe I haven't found this sooner... Kenyon is the heart and soul of what I want to one day accomplish in my own work. "Having it out with Meloncholy" is the best so far (though I still have plenty more to read). I wept and wept after reading it for the first time.
What a loss to us all. Absolutely lovely work that calls out from her illness and depression with a quality of hope and courage. Particularly struck by Otherwise, Let Evening Come, Happiness, Looking At Stars, and Walking Alone in Winter.
Jane Kenyon was a masterful poet. She wrote mostly about nature, plants, animals, her dog. This book is a must-have for any poetry lover's collection. I pick it up every so often and just read something new, and always fall in love with it.
Jan 03, 2013 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I subscribe to Garrison Keillor's, Writers' Almanac. A poem a day is nice way to begin a day's reading, as well as find or rediscover poets one wishes to more often read.

Bright Sun after Heavy Snow got me looking for more Jane.
Mia Tryst
The definitive collection of Jane Kenyon's poetry all in one book, just because I wanted it. Not that I needed it. I'll have more to say about this book once I've read twice through.
Amy Krohn
She writes so well about me. And she didn't even know me! Lovely poems, simultaneously down-to-earth and profound. I'm so glad I could meet Jane Kenyon through her poetry.
Ellen Ferber
Jane Kenyon is one of several poets that live on my nightstand. I just love her plain spoken words, metaphors and rhythm. Her poems are so rich and evocative. Magic.
Kenyon is one of my favorite contemporary poets -- I love especially "Having it out with Melancholy" and "The Poet in the Grove, Age 10."
Oh, Jane Kenyon... I want to like your poems more than I do. I'm pretty sure it's me, not you. I will keep trying.
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  • White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006
  • Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
  • Domestic Work: Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Migration: New and Selected Poems
  • A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997
  • What We Carry
  • The First Four Books of Poems
  • Flying At Night: Poems 1965-1985
  • The Collected Poems
  • Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002
  • Book of My Nights
  • After
  • American Primitive
  • The Selected Levis
  • My Alexandria
  • The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems
  • Collected Poems
Jane Kenyon was an American poet and translator. Her work is often characterized as simple, spare, and emotionally resonant.
More about Jane Kenyon...
Otherwise: New & Selected Poems Let Evening Come Constance A Hundred White Daffodils The Boat of Quiet Hours: Poems

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“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.”
“I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.”
More quotes…