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Thursday, 21 July 2016

POET OF THE MONTH #37: Bernice Kenyon


Charles Scribner's Sons US, 1951




FOR SILENCE


Since there is not, for you and me,
One instant of tranquility,
But always beating in the throat
Such clamor and such high confusion ––
Let us preserve the mind remote,
And build our silence of illusion.

Think for a little of those shining
Worlds where no man has set his foot:
Where dark and daylight have no meaning ––
Only as distance; where no root
Of deep disaster strikes and holds;
Where only wonderment unfolds.

Then you will find, most certainly,
That all you sought was fantasy.
The stream of life runs loud and wide,
Bearing us toward infinity.
How shall we learn to know –– to ride
The noise of this our destiny?
Here rest a moment –– rest you here,
Where your own thoughts are still and clear.


Night Sky (1951)




The Poet:  The following 1982 obituary appears on the website of The New York Times.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the material posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Bernice Lesbia Kenyon Gilkyson, a poet and a former story editor and editorial assistant at Charles Scribner's Sons, died Wednesday at Winsted (Connecticut) Memorial Hospital.

She was 84 years old and lived in New Hartford, Connecticut.

Mrs Gilkyson, who wrote under the name of Bernice Kenyon, was considered one of America's most important young female poets in the 1920's and 1930's and was ranked with Louise Bogan, Edna St Vincent Millay and Elinor Wylie.

Her first volume, Songs of Unrest, was published by Scribner's in 1923.  Her two other published works were Meridian, which appeared in 1933, and Night Sky in 1951. In 1950, she shared a National Book Award with Robert Frost.

Mrs Gilkyson also wrote the libretto for the opera Landara, composed by her friend Efrem Zimbalist, which had its premiere in Philadelphia in 1956. She had completed her fourth volume, Mortal Music, shortly before her death

Born in Oakside, Long Island, Mrs Gilkyson graduated from Wellesley College and went to work at the old Scribner's Magazine as a story editor.  She became an editorial assistant to Maxwell Perkins in the Scribner's book division, working with such authors as Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald.

With her husband, T. Walter Gilkyson, a lawyer and novelist, Mrs. Gilkyson lived in Italy for two years, returning in 1930 and traveling before moving to New Hartford.

Her husband died in 1969; there are no survivors.


Click HERE to read a fascinating post about forgotten poet BERNICE KENYON on the Neglected Books website.  You can also click HERE to read a little more about BERNICE KENYON at The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door: A Portal to Bohemia 1920-1925, an online exhibition administered by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #35: Edna St Vincent Millay
POET OF THE MONTH #32: Jennifer Denrow 
POET OF THE MONTH #22: Fay Zwicky

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