Poetry Review — The Heart’s Necessities: Life in Poetry

The Heart's Necessities: Life in Poetry

The Heart’s Necessities is a three-part book. First, it is a selected collection of poems by Jane Tyson Clement. Clement, a Smith College graduate, became a poet, playwright, and author. Although from a privileged background, she became involved in social justice and she and her husband joined the Bruderhof community. Her poetry, in this collection, centers on nature and its beauty. There is an underlining spirituality in writing complimenting the natural world. The poetry is simple yet beautiful in its form and message reminiscent of Romanticism.

Secondly, the book is a biography of the poet. Written by Becca Stevens, she centers on the life and accomplishments of Clement. Clement’s work with the Bruderhof community is documented as well as the stages of her life. Clement seems to be one of the rare people whose devotion could be felt with her presence rather than her words. The third part consists of notes by Stevens describing the poems or putting them context. These are easily separated from the rest of the text because of the color of the ink used. The collection is also illustrated with photos of nature, Stevens, and Clement.

The book has the appearance of a modern devotional from the cover photo to the tint of the pages. The color photographs support the messages of the poetry and the grandeur of nature. The impression of a devotional not only describes the poet’s work but also her influence.  She inspired the music of the author Becca Stevens which made this book possible and opened the poetry of Clement to a new and younger audience.

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