By Bert G. Hornback
In April of 1998 the 1st Jane Kenyon convention introduced jointly Donald corridor, Wendell Berry, Galway Kinnell, Alice Mattison, Gregory Orr, and Joyce Peseroff in addition to a few students, academics, scholars, and admirers of Jane Kenyon's poetry. What was once stated approximately Jane Kenyon and approximately her poetry used to be expert and informative, and sometimes very relocating. This quantity collects poems and feedback approximately her and her paintings by means of corridor, Berry, Kinnell, Mattison, Orr, and Peseroff, in addition to essays via a dozen different convention individuals.
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Extra info for "Bright Unequivocal Eye": Poems, Papers, and Remembrances from the First Jane Kenyon Conference
I was floating with the whole human family. This description of floating surrender nonetheless recalls language associated in other poems with illness or depression, as in the last line of “Sick at Summer’s End”: “I’m falling upward, nothing to hold me down,” or the moment in “Evening Sun” when the lyrical evocation of “the ochre light / of an early June evening” only brings the realization “that I would have to live, and go on / living: what a sorrow it was. . ” After the momentary immersion in the “river of light,” Melancholy reclaims her errant child, portraying herself as a rescuer: “‘I’ll hold you up.
What is the knocking? What is the knocking at the door in the night? It is somebody wants to do us harm. No, no, it is the three strange angels. Admit them, admit them. It’s a weird poem, right? Don’t ask me what it means, except that the “winged gift” seems to take a wrong turn in becoming this “wedge-blade inserted”. The speaker picks up a sword and starts whacking away at the rock in an attempt to get to the water within. Good luck! ” and suddenly there’s a sense of terror, of the self in jeopardy again.
His knees felt cool. A surprising amount of light came through the blanket. He could easily see his hand. Not dark enough, not the utter darkness he desired. 36 Our Lady of Sorrows To me this is a poem of pure thanatos, of isolation, of retreat into depression and despair. The man doesn’t even want to see his hand, an object that connects him to the world. But the amazing thing about a poem that comes of the depths, out of the abyss, is this: it tells us that the human spirit still exists even at these depths; that it can give shape and form, articulate expression, to its condition, and this gives us hope.