Darkness and light

Edgar Allan Poe once famously opined that the death of a beautiful woman is “unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.” What if the woman is also a poet, death comes early, and her husband is a famous poet as well? This convergence surely played some part in the renown that has gathered around Jane Kenyon. Yet even before her untimely death in 1995 fame had begun to find her. An award-winning Bill Moyers documentary about Kenyon, her husband, Donald Hall, and their life together surely helped. And just as surely, none of it would have happened if not for her brilliant books of poems—The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), Let Evening Come (1990), Constance (1993) and the posthumous Otherwise (1996).


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