Jane Kenyon

(1947-1995 / United States)

Jane Kenyon Poems

1. Afternoon at MacDowell 4/24/2015
2. Man Eating 5/29/2015
3. Coats 7/6/2015
4. Trouble with Math in a One-Room Country School 12/4/2015
5. Christmas Away From Home 4/21/2010
6. The Argument 5/23/2014
7. Private Beach 4/21/2010
8. Not Writing 4/21/2010
9. Heavy Summer Rain 5/23/2014
10. Not Here 4/21/2010
11. Thinking Of Madame Bovary 5/23/2014
12. No Steps 5/23/2014
13. Alone For A Week 5/23/2014
14. Gettysburg: July 1, 1863 5/23/2014
15. What Came To Me 3/7/2015
16. Taking Down The Tree 4/21/2010
17. The Pond At Dusk 4/21/2010
18. Sun And Moon 4/21/2010
19. Wash 1/13/2003
20. Three Songs At The End Of Summer 4/21/2010
21. The Shirt 4/21/2010
22. The Clearing 5/23/2014
23. Dutch Interiors 1/20/2003
24. Twilight: After Haying 1/20/2003
25. February: Thinking Of Flowers 1/20/2003
26. Biscuit 1/13/2003
27. Finding A Long Gray Hair 1/13/2003
28. Notes From The Other Side 1/20/2003
29. The Blue Bowl 1/13/2003
30. Briefly It Enters, And Briefly Speaks 1/20/2003
31. Portrait Of A Figure Near Water 4/21/2010
32. The Suitor 1/20/2003
33. Let Evening Come 1/20/2003
34. Having It Out With Melancholy 1/20/2003
35. Otherwise 1/13/2003
36. Happiness 1/20/2003

Comments about Jane Kenyon

  • Karen Hill (4/15/2018 2:42:00 PM)

    I remembered this poem, Let Evening Come, when I heard that a dear friend's mother had passed at 98 years old, quietly in her bed, as her daughter was reading to her. This poet died at a relatively young age herself, and I admire the directness and deep feeling of her work. I am sending the poem to my friend.

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/15/2015 11:53:00 AM)


    Jane Kenyon: Collected Poems (Graywolf Press,2005)

    A Hundred White Daffodils (Graywolf Press,1999)

    Otherwise: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press,1996)

    Constance (Graywolf Press,1993)

    Let Evening Come (Graywolf Press,1990)

    The Boat of Quiet Hours (Graywolf Press,1986)

    From Room to Room (Alice James Books,1978)

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/15/2015 11:49:00 AM)


    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.

    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 Saturday April 22,1995 from leukemia.


  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/15/2015 11:48:00 AM)


    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 at which every poet should try her hand.

    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. 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.

    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.

Best Poem of Jane Kenyon


There's just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy...

Read the full of Happiness


The dog has cleaned his bowl
and his reward is a biscuit,
which I put in his mouth
like a priest offering the host.

I can't bear that trusting face!
He asks for bread, expects
bread, and I in my power
might have given him a stone.

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