She Walks in Beauty - poems selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy

About the book:

Kennedy has divided the collection into sections that signify to her the most notable milestones, passages, and universal experiences in a woman's life, and she begins each of these sections with an introduction in which she explores and celebrates the most important elements of life's journey.


The collection includes works by Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, W. H. Auden, Adrienne Rich, Sandra Cisneros, Anne Sexton, W. S. Merwin, Dorothy Parker, Queen Elizabeth I, Lucille Clifton, Naomi Shahib Nye, and W. B. Yeats. Whether it's falling in love, breaking up, friendship, marriage, motherhood, or growing old, She Walks in Beauty is a priceless resource for anyone, male or female, who wants a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a woman.

The title poem:

She walks in beauty
George Gordon, Lord Byron

I She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

II One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress, 
Or softly lightens o'er her face; 
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

III And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, 
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 
The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 
But tell of days in goodness spent, 
A mind at peace with all below, 
A heart whose love is innocent!

What we'll do:

We won't cover this whole book - just the poems you want to highlight, so choose one poem, preferably from within this book, that you will read aloud at group next Meetup. You can pick a poem because you loved it, hated it, or because it utterly confused you and you wanted to get other's take on it. There's no right or wrong in choosing a selection! Please let us know what poem you will want discussed (post in the comments) so others can be sure to read it. If, for some reason, you want to do a poem not included in this selection please post the poem or a link to where the poem can be found online so that everyone will be able to read.



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  • Kathy

    I truly enjoyed the discussion last night and the group. I hope to see you next month!

    1 · May 16

  • Nancy Pocius

    What I enjoyed most about the book was Caroline's introductions to the various sections. It has prompted me to read one of her books. Poetry is just not my cup of tea. I did, however, enjoy "Lilacs" on page 47 and "A Word to Husbands" on page 82 and "Madam and Her Madam" on page 130. They are very simple poems and that probably is why they appealed to me. Guess I am not a deep thinker.

    May 13

    • Faydra

      A Word to Husbands was funny :-) I'm going to look up Lilacs now...

      May 15

    • Susan Godfrey Moses

      Nancy, We miss you. Glad you enjoyed the poems. See you soon!

      May 16

  • Sharon Archer

    Oh it sounds like you had a good time....the alpha course is quite wonderful but missed you all.....

    May 16

  • Jennifer Salzano

    What a wonderful evening! I enjoyed meeting everyone and am looking forward to next month. Thanks to all

    May 16

  • Susan Godfrey Moses

    Thank you for a wonderful evening of poetry reading and discussion. I was excited to find a new favorite poet to add to my list with Gregory Corso's poem Marriage. I really enjoyed the selections everyone made and it was nice hearing them read aloud.

    May 16

  • Elaine Arnell

    The Road Not Taken
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I marked the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

    May 14

  • Sharon Archer

    I am so sorry to not be husband and I are attended an alpha class at church and had to make a. Hard choice....too many good things vying for my time....see you next month, have a good time...

    May 14

  • Susan Godfrey Moses­

    Tips for reading poems.

    May 7

  • Susan Godfrey Moses

    I hope you all are enjoying reading the wonderful collection of poems in "She Walks in Beauty". I am busy marking my favorites. Today's favorite is "Marriage" by Gregory Corso. Check it out. See you all soon.

    May 7

  • Jennifer Salzano

    I haven't been able to attend a meeting yet but am immediately asking for this night off. I love this book, my daughter gave it to me after my marraige ended and I gave one to my new daughter in law. That is a great choice!

    1 · April 18, 2013

  • Faydra

    One more tip - a lot of the poems can be found free online, so if you don't want to get the book just use the table of contents (visible on amazon) as a guide to track down some poems.

    April 18, 2013

  • Faydra

    For starters, make sure you read the title poem :-) We'll cover that one for sure.

    1 · April 18, 2013

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