Jane Kenyon Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although Jane Kenyon is known for her poetry, she also wrote essays, many of which were for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor. Selected essays and interviews are collected in A Hundred White Daffodils: Essays, Interviews, the Akhmatova Translations, Newspaper Columns, and One Poem (1999). Her translations of Anna Akhmatova are collected in Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova (1985).


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Jane Kenyon’s poetic talents were first recognized while she was a student at the University of Michigan, when she was given the Avery and Jules Hopwood Award in 1969. Later she received the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine in 1993 and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Along with Joyce Peseroff, Kenyon cofounded and coedited Green House, a journal dedicated to publishing the best in contemporary poetry and, in particular, representing contemporary female poets. She was also involved in readings and support activities for Alice James Books, a cooperative publishing venture that encouraged female authors. In 1986, Kenyon, with her husband, Donald Hall, visited China and Japan as visiting writers sponsored by the State Department Cultural Exchange. They visited India under similar auspices in 1991 and 1993.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Felstiner, John. “’Kicking the Leaves’: Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon at Eagle Pond Farm.” Iowa Review 37, no. 1 (Spring, 2007): 54-64. This essay looks at themes of love and death in the works of Kenyon and Hall. It compares and contrasts the poetry written during their marriage.

Hall, Donald. The Best Day the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. The poet Hall looks back at his life with Kenyon, alternating chapters on her death and funeral with memories of their life together. This provides profound insights into Kenyon’s thoughts, creative processes, and the raw material of her poetry, as well as being a moving memoir about love, friendship, and death.

_______. Without. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Hall began writing Without early in his wife’s illness. It describes Kenyon’s bone marrow transplant and radiation treatment and continues after her death with a series of epistles from Hall to Kenyon. Hall writes with exceptional clarity and directness; several reviewers have referred to this book as a true expression of “raw grief.”

Hornback, Bert G., ed.“Bright, Unequivocal Eye”: Poems, Papers, and Remembrances from the First Jane Kenyon Conference. New York: Peter Lang, 2000. This volume collects poems and remarks made at an April, 1998,...

(The entire section is 406 words.)