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Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life [Paperback]

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Item Number 143051  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   246
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 27, 2002
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802863264  
EAN  9780802863263  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
It is a testament to the enduring power and beauty of Jane Kenyon's poetry that many people - even those not particularly interested in poetry - know her work. What forces and influences shaped Kenyon's writing? And what shaped her as a person and a poet? These are the questions that John Timmerman seeks to answer in Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life. In the opening chapters Timmerman beautifully limns the story of Kenyon's life, drawing on unpublished journals and papers of hers and recollections by her husband, the poet Donald Hall. To show how her art grew out of her life, Timmerman proceeds to explore, volume by volume, the form and substance of Kenyon's work. By frequently examining the multiple drafts that Kenyon wrote in the process of reaching a finished poem, Timmerman reveals how she winnowed and refined ideas, images, and language until a poem was honed to its essence. She was especially interested in the "luminous particular," the arresting image that would focus a poem. She also took care to use simple, grounded language and natural objects and events - often drawing on and reflecting on the life she lived at Eagle Pond Farm in rural New Hampshire. Throughout her life Kenyon struggled with depression, but she never let it define her or her work. She also struggled with her faith almost constantly, yet her faith was "unrelenting," according to Timmerman, and she still wrote poems of great beauty and spiritual consolation. Her poetry, even when very personal, reached out - and still reaches out - to the reader, establishing that vital thread of human connection. Indeed, as Timmerman says, Kenyon's poems are "soundings of the human soul." Kenyon was cut down in the prime of her writing life by leukemia, and Timmerman concludes by exploring Hall's mourning of her death in Without, a wrenching collection of poems. But Kenyon's voice lives on in her work, and Timmerman's insightful, often moving study shows why this unique literary voice continues to touch readers with its beauty, grace, and power.

Buy Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life by John H. Timmerman from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780802863263 & 0802863264

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More About John H. Timmerman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John H. Timmerman (Ph.D., Ohio University) and Donald R. Hettinga (Ph.D., University of Chicago) are professors of English at Calvin College. They have won many awards for their essays, short stories, and poetry and each has authored several books.

John H. Timmerman currently resides in Grand Rapids, in the state of Michigan.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
False Advertising  Jul 1, 2003
The problem with this book is simple: it is not what it claims to be. In every way, from the title to the dust-jacket materials, this work is presented as a biography--specifically, a critical biography--of Jane Kenyon. It is not. It is a straightforward piece of literary criticism and analysis, rather simple in its approach, and as such perhaps useful for students in Introduction to Poetry courses which utilize Kenyon's work. It reminds me, in fact, of nothing so much as the old Twayne's series of introductory-level criticism.

There is some biographical material here, but it is entirely contained in the book's first two chapters, and is not especially illuminating (the teenage journal entries are the only point of interest).

It speaks poorly of this publishing house that such an overt attempt has been made to disguise the contents of this book. As another reviewer on this page stated, Jane Kenyon deserves a real biographer. Those who purchase "Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life" are bound to be disappointed, as I was.

Satisfying - Couldn't Put it Down  Nov 15, 2002
As someone who adores Jane Kenyon and her writings, I looked forward to this book for months, and wasn't disappointed. It was especially enlightening to read excerpts from her teenage journals and see the early writings of the woman she would turn into; she never lost her sense of self, humor and determinedness.
Those who know her poems will be delighted to learn of the early drafts and background to their writing. Kenyon's husband, Donald Hall, also adds pertinent commentary. This book will reward you and send you back to the poems and writings of this wonderful woman.
It Should Have Been Otherwise  Oct 14, 2002
As a reader who has had to buy Otherwise several times to replace
those copies enthusiastically given to friends and acquaintances,
I was looking forward to reading what I hoped would be an
insightful biography. I will not try to express
my disappointment other than to say that after about a hundred
pages I threw this book into the wastebasket in disgust. Buy "A
Hundred White Daffodils" which is quoted from so often and
so extensively one suspects how much effort was put toward
any other source. Apart from the quotes, the book seems more
written by a freshman student than anyone else. Jane Kenyon
deserves a good biographer. This book is an embarrassment.

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