Poetry Book Society Recommendation
The work of America’s Jane Kenyon (1947-95) is one of poetry’s rarest and most heart-breaking gifts. After fighting depression for most of her life, Jane Kenyon died from leukaemia at the age of 47. Her quietly musical poems are intensely moving, compassionate meditations intently probing the life of the heart and spirit. Observing and absorbing small miracles in everyday life, these apparently simple poems grapple with fundamental questions of human existence. They are psalms of love and death, God and nature, joy and despair.
Introduced by Donald Hall and Joyce Peseroff, Let Evening Come also includes an interview with Jane Kenyon, her thoughts on poetry, and her translations of 20 poems by Anna Akhmatova.
‘Jane Kenyon has made something of an aesthetic of quiet, and her poems have a brooding introversion. Rare among American poets she is also able to infuse her poetry with a lightly worn sense of Christian humility, and an active – if worried – sense of mercy. These are among the qualities which give her verse both the tones and the turns of serious prayer. Within the subtle yet dramatic use of rhyme and sound in Let Evening Come, she evokes not only the drama of her need to speak, but also the deep communion and solace within any reader’s need to listen.’ – Liam Rector, Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry
‘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
‘If Sylvia Plath was Our Lady of the Rages, Jane was Our Lady of the Sorrows, Our Lady of Vulnerability.’ – Gregory Orr