This volume of new and selected poems was compiled during the last year of Jane Kenyon's life, while she was suffering from leukemia. It includes generous selections from her four published volumes of poetry, as well as 20 previously uncollected new poems. The book ends with an Afterword written by Kenyon's husband, poet Donald Hall, and the last poem she wrote, The Sick Wife (see annotation).


Otherwise is the most moving and satisfying collection of poetry that I have ever read. I make no claim that it is necessarily the "best" or the "greatest" poetry. Judgments about poems are inherently subjective. Likewise, memory is a frail instrument. Nonetheless, I believe that anyone who seeks a spirituality in poetry, who seeks to discover within it the transcendent dimension of the ordinary, will find reading Otherwise a remarkable experience.

Among the poems that deal with illness, dying, death, and healing are In the Nursing Home, "Fat," "Depression in Winter," The Sandy Hole, "Sick at Summer's End," "Travel: After a Death," "Insomnia," "After an Illness, Walking the Dog," and Having it Out with Melancholy. Several of these have been annotated in this database.



Place Published

St. Paul, Minn.



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