Mighty Life List
Apr 18 2013

Thank a Writer Project: Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon

Nathan Bransford and I are writing thank you notes to our favorite authors in the Go Mighty #ThankAWriter project. Please join us! See this post to find out how to create a Go Mighty profile and see the other inspiring letters. Every note you write and post about on Go Mighty enters you to win the first six books in the Penguin Drop Caps series.

This is our last week of the Thank a Writer project. We’ll be announcing the winner of the Penguin Classics drawing on Monday, so write some letters this weekend if you’d like to throw your hat in the ring.

My letter this week is a thank you and condolence letter to Donald Hall, husband of Jane Kenyon. Ms. Kenyon is my favorite poet, but she died in 1995.

The anniversary of her death is in a few days, and I wanted to thank Mr. Hall for writing about their lives together. I’ve published a portion of my letter on Go Mighty, but thought I’d leave the rest between me and Mr. Hall.

This is my favorite Jane Kenyon poem.

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

8 Responses to “Thank a Writer Project: Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon”

  • Valerie Says:

    This poem reminds me very much of one of my favorites, Mark Strand’s The Continuous Life, except that it is perhaps more comforting. It’s lovely.

  • Samilja Says:

    <> I just love Jane Kenyon. The ‘lucky shirt’ line…

  • Megan Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It touched me.

  • Lisa B. Says:

    I love that Jane Kenyon poem too. She said one of the best things about revising: “Poetry has an
    intensity about it, which is one of its loveliest qualities, but that’s also the thing that fatigues you when you’re working on it. There’s
    a pitch of emotion in poems that you must rise to. Every time you work on the poem you must rise
    to it again.” I think about this every time I set about revising. Thanks for this lovely, lovely post (and your lovely letter).

  • Megan Says:

    There are parts of The Best Day the Worst Day that have become fundamental reference points for me, if that makes sense. Also, the way he mentions that Jane Kenyon “came into her beauty in her 40s” and slays me.

    Maggie, did you ever hear him on This American Life reading from Without and talking about her with Ira Glass? It will undo you but in a good way. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/93/valentines-day-98?act=3

  • Megan Says:

    Lisa B. – thank you for sharing that.

  • Megan Says:

    Can we all get together and talk about poetry now?

  • Rachel Says:

    I love Kenyon’s poetry as well, but Hall’s _Without_ stands out in my mind as Love as it should be, as it is, as it was, even after all these years. Thanks, Miss Maggie. You’re the best.