Jane Gentry (1941--2014) possessed an uncanny ability to spin quietly expansive and wise verses from small details, objects, and remembered moments. The hallmarks of her work are insight into nature, faith, the quotidian, and -- perhaps most prominently -- the grounding of her home and family in the state of Kentucky. This innovative poet and critic was for many years one of the animating spirits of literary life in the region.
Gentry and her daughters collaborated with editor Julia Johnson to organize this definitive collection. The result is an important literary anthology that assembles Gentry's most celebrated poems alongside new, previously unpublished works. Johnson uses Gentry's own methodology to arrange the poems in sequences comparable to those found in her previous collections. This organization showcases the range of the poet's work and the flexibility of her style, which is sometimes ironic and humorous; sometimes poignant; but always clear, intelligent, and revelatory.
This volume includes two full-length collections of poetry in their entirety -- A Garden in Kentucky and Portrait of the Artist as a White Pig. The final section features Gentry's unpublished work, bringing together her early poems, verses written for loved ones, and a large group of more recent work that may have been intended for future collections. Alternately startling and heart-wrenching, The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry offers a valuable retrospective of the celebrated poet's work.