Jane Kenyon

Last updated
Jane Kenyon
Jane Kenyon.jpg
Born(1947-05-23)May 23, 1947
Ann Arbor, Michigan
United States
DiedApril 22, 1995(1995-04-22) (aged 47)
Wilmot, New Hampshire
United States
Occupation Poet, translator
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Michigan
Spouse
Donald Hall (m. 1972)

Jane Kenyon (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995) was an American poet and translator. Her work is often characterized as simple, spare, and emotionally resonant. Kenyon was the second wife of poet, editor, and critic Donald Hall who made her the subject of many of his poems.

Contents

Life

Kenyon was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in the Midwest. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1970 and an M.A. in 1972. She won a Hopwood Award at Michigan. Also, while a student at the University of Michigan, Kenyon met the poet Donald Hall; though he was some nineteen years her senior, she married him in 1972, and they moved to Eagle Pond Farm, his ancestral home in Wilmot, New Hampshire. Kenyon was New Hampshire's poet laureate when she died on April 22, 1995 from leukemia. [1]

Career

Four collections of Kenyon's poems were published during her lifetime: Constance (1993), Let Evening Come (1990), The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), and From Room to Room (1978). She spent some years translating the poems of Anna Akhmatova from Russian into English (published as Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova, 1985), and she championed translation as an important art that every poet should try. When she died, she was working on editing Otherwise: New and Selected Poems. In 2004, Ausable Press published Letters to Jane, a compilation of letters written by the poet Hayden Carruth to Kenyon in the year between her diagnosis and her death.

Kenyon's poems are filled with rural images: light streaming through a hayloft, shorn winter fields. She wrote frequently about wrestling with depression, which plagued her throughout her adult life. Kenyon's poem "Having it out with Melancholy" describes this struggle and the brief moments of happiness she felt when taking an MAOI, Nardil. [2] The essays collected in A Hundred White Daffodils reveal the important role church came to play in her life once she and Hall moved to Eagle Pond Farm. However, two visits to India in the early 1990s led to a crisis of faith, as Hall (in introductions to her books and in his own memoirs), Alice Mattison, and her biographer John Timmerman have described.

Her poem "Let Evening Come" was featured in the film In Her Shoes , in a scene where the character played by Cameron Diaz reads the poem (as well as "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop) to a blind nursing home resident. "Having it out with Melancholy" has been read by Amanda Palmer on Brain Pickings.

Kenyon was also a contributor to Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art .

Kenyon's papers, including manuscripts, personal journals, and notebooks are held at the University of New Hampshire Library Special Collections and Archives. [3]

Awards

Bibliography

Notes

  1. "Jane Kenyon, 47, A Poet Laureate". The New York Times . 27 April 1995.
  2. Kenyon, Jane. "Having it out with Melancholy". POETS.org. Academy of American Poets . Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  3. "Jane Kenyon Papers, 1961-1995 | University of New Hampshire Library". www.library.unh.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-29.

Related Research Articles

Anna Akhmatova Russian poet (1889-1966)

Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova, was one of the most significant Soviet Russian poets of the 20th century. She was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in 1965 and received second-most (three) nominations for the award the following year.

Joseph Brodsky Russian-American poet

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Russian-American poet and essayist.

Fanny Howe American writer

Fanny Howe is an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. She was awarded the 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, presented annually by the Poetry Foundation to a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. She was a judge for the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Tess Gallagher is an American poet, essayist, short story writer. Her many honors were a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts award, Maxine Cushing Gray Foundation Award.

Donald Hall American writer

Donald Andrew Hall Jr. was an American poet, writer, editor and literary critic. He was the author of over 50 books across several genres from children's literature, biography, memoir, essays, and including 22 volumes of verse. Hall was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard, and Oxford. Early in his career, he became the first poetry editor of The Paris Review (1953–1961), the quarterly literary journal, and was noted for interviewing poets and other authors on their craft.

Lynda Hull was an American poet. She had published two collections of poetry when she died in a car accident in 1994. A third, The Only World, was published posthumously by her husband, the poet David Wojahn, and was a finalist for the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award. Collected Poems By Lynda Hull, was published in 2006.

Patricia Fargnoli is an American poet and retired psychotherapist. She was the New Hampshire Laureate from December 2006 to March 2009.

Cynthia Huntington is an American poet, memoirist and a professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. In 2004 she was named Poet Laureate of New Hampshire.

Catherine Barnett is an American poet and educator. She is the author of Human Hours, The Game of Boxes, winner of the James Laughlin Award, and Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced, winner of the Beatrice Hawley Award. Her honors include a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has published widely in journals and magazines including The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Pleiades, Poetry, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Washington Post. Her poetry was featured in The Best American Poetry 2016, edited by Edward Hirsch. Barnett teaches in the graduate and undergraduate writing programs at New York University and is a distinguished lecturer at Hunter College. She has also taught at Princeton University, The New School, and Barnard College, where she is a Visiting Poet. She also works as an independent editor. She received her B.A. from Princeton University and an MFA from Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

Claudia Rankine American poet

Claudia Rankine is a poet, essayist, playwright, and the editor of several anthologies. She is the author of five volumes of poetry, two plays, and various essays.

Linda Alouise Gregg was an American poet.

Mary Szybist is an American poet. She won the National Book Award for Poetry for her collection Incarnadine.

Carl Phillips American poet

Carl Phillips is an American writer and poet. He is a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Sholl is an American poet who was poet laureate of Maine from 2006 to 2011 and has authored nine collections of poetry. Sholl has received several poetry awards, including the 1991 AWP Award, and the 2015 Maine Literary Award, as well as receiving fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission.

Martha Collins (poet) American writer

Martha Collins is a poet, translator, and editor. She has published nine books of poetry, including Night Unto Night ,Admit One: An American Scrapbook, Day Unto Day, White Papers, and Blue Front, as well as two chapbooks and four books of co-translations from the Vietnamese. She has also co-edited, with Kevin Prufer and Martin Rock, a volume of poems by Catherine Breese Davis, accompanied by essays and an interview about the poet’s life and work.

Elizabeth Alexander (poet) American poet

Elizabeth Alexander is an American poet, essayist, playwright, and the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation since 2018. Previously she was a professor for 15 years at Yale University, where she taught poetry and chaired the African American Studies department. She then joined the faculty of Columbia University in 2016, as the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Mary Jo Bang American poet

Mary Jo Bang is an American poet.

Judith Harris (poet) American poet

Judith Harris is an American poet and the author of Night Garden, Atonement, The Bad Secret, and the critical book Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self Through Writing. Her poetry has appeared in many publications, including The Nation, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Slate, Southern Review, Image, Boulevard, Narrative, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She has taught at the Frost Place and at universities in the Washington, D.C. area.

Alice Mattison is an American novelist and short story writer.

Sally Wen Mao Chinese-born American poet

Sally Wen Mao is an American poet. She won a 2017 Pushcart Prize.

References