Collected Poems (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Jane Kenyon’s Collected Poems assembles all of her collections and adds her few uncollected poems. Published at the tenth anniversary of her death, it is a handsome volume of poems which will continue to claim readers in the future.
As a poet who died young and who was ill for some time before her death from leukemia in 1995, Kenyon is an appealing figure: One realizes that the photograph of her on the book’s back flap is a well-known one. Looking like an old child with streaks of gray through her long hair, she sits, studious, and eyes downcast, in front of a typewriter. The image of the serious child is projected in the poetrya sincere, serious, direct tone maintained from first to last page. One might think that a full-length collection of such work would pall, as sometimes individual poems seem slight. This is not the case, however. Although perspective remains the same throughout the decades of Kenyon’s poetry, her subjects change; the angle of vision becomes more and more clear to the reader as she looks at different aspects of experience.
Kenyon has many devoted admirers. She has had the same publisher, Graywolf Press, from her first book, From Room to Room, published in 1978. She had four books published before her death in 1995, and Graywolf has released two posthumous collections, Otherwise: New and Selected...
(The entire section is 1807 words.)
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