Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Without

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Without

Article excerpt

Whom Donald Hall is without, of course, is his wife and fellow poet, Jane Kenyon, who died of leukemia after an extended illness. This book recounts of their last months together and Hall's life after her passing. It serves as a moving elegy for her life and work, and it spares none of the pain she and Hall experienced: the illness brought on by treatments, the pain of a bone marrow transplant, the dementia and incontinence. But it is not the horror of the death and dying that remains with the reader after he has finished this book. It is the clear presence of mutual love and two people's persevering in the face of hopeless circumstances. When Hall quotes Kenyon on her death bed saying, "`Dying is simple,' she said, `What's worst is ... the separation,"' we understand their loss. This is a sad and painful book, but it is buoyed by integrity and enduring emotion.

Houghton Mifflin $22

The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore, edited by Bonnie Costello. …

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