There are a large number of poets worldwide that have composed thousands of poems. Poems composed consist of various things. For example, there are different language devices in poems while others are structured in various manners. This is due to reason that different authors are influenced by different circumstances, and write at diverse time. Also, different authors have diverse intentions of writing poems.

Jane Kenyon has composed a number of poems. These poems are of different types. The types include; narrative poems, lyric poems, and dramatic poems.

Jane Kenyon is a poet among other well known poets. She was born in Ann, Arbor, in Michigan during the year 1947. She then grew up in Midwest.

She studied in the University of Michigan where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in1970.She also acquired a Masters in Arts in the year 1972.Still in 1972, she got married to Donald Hall. This man was also a poet. They then went to live in Eagle Pond farm, in New Hampshire.

They lived here for twenty years. She was suffering from blood cancer, which disturbed her in her life. However, she did not lose hope in doing work of poetry. In her lifetime, she published several poetic books.

They are; Constance, Let Evening Come, the Boat of Quiet Hours, and From Room to Room. Jane Kenyon and her husband participated in an Emmy award-Winning Bill Moyers documentary, in the year 1993. Her death took place even before the publishing of her collection of poems. She died of Leukemia in April 1995 (Peseroff, 105. 2005)

The title of the poem

The book “Otherwise: New and Selected Poem” consists of various poems that Jane Kenyon collected with the help of her husband, Donald Hall. The title of the book is derived from the heading of one of the poems that were composed by Jane Kenyon in her poetic life. The title of the poem is “Otherwise”.

The title of the poem is greatly influencing stylistic devices used in the poem especially repetition. This paper is all about the discussion of the poem with the title ‘Otherwise’. The title of the poem ‘Otherwise’ is bringing out its theme. This title ‘Otherwise’ has greatly influenced the meaning of the poem. This is because it is trying to make it clear that is not a must for one to wake up early in the morning.

The title explains that what is supposed to happen can fail. In other words, it is not a guarantee that everything one does his or her chore every day. By the use of the word otherwise, the author is showing readers that instead of waking up in the morning strong enough to perform daily chores, anything can happen to hinder it.

Jane Kenyon’s intent

The poem shows how Jane Kenyon struggled in her last days of illness. She narrates her daily activities recognizing even the simplest things. The main objective of Jane Kenyon in her poem is to teach the society to appreciate what they do daily in their lives. She expresses that one can die at any time.

They should not take the activities they undertake for granted. The intention of Kenyon to use the word otherwise repetitively in the poem is to make it easy for people to understand that life is short, and they should live to their fullest. Kenyon uses simple terms and short lines in her poem to make it simple for readers to understand. Kenyon is trying to help members of the society not make the same mistake she made of not living her life fully. Another intention of Jane Kenyon writing her poem ‘Otherwise’ was to give hope to those who live with serious illnesses.

Another intention in this poem is to encourage hard work among members of the society.

Publishing of the poem

The publishing of this poem ‘Otherwise’ occurred after the death of the author-Jane Kenyon. It was published in the book ‘Otherwise: New and Selected Poems’ among other poems. Jane Kenyon edited the poems in this book as she struggled with cancer during her last days of life. She also, revised her collection of poems with the assistance of her husband. This is the point at which she reached before her death took place. The publisher of the book that contained a collection of poems in, which ‘Otherwise’ was one of them took place in the year 1996.

This was for the first edition. The publishers’ name is Gray wolf Press. This is, therefore, a clear indication that publication of the poem took place (Kenyon, 89.


Language devices in the poem ‘Otherwise’

There is repetition in the poem. The word that is repeated many times is otherwise. It emphasizes the fact that anyone can die at any time. Therefore, people should not ignore anything they accomplish each and every time.

Repetition makes readers understand that it is not a must that they do their duties daily or function normally. Hence, it insists on the point of appreciation for any activity they accomplish daily. Moreover, the poem contains rhythm that is irregular. This helps in making it memorable.

Thus, those who read it do not need to work extremely hard to keep the poem in their mind. Rhythm also helps in making the poem ‘Otherwise’ interesting. This helps one enjoy reading the poem. People end up reading the poem since they hear others commenting about it. Afterwards, they learn living skills especially appreciating what they achieve regardless of how simple a thing may be. The poem is narrative. It is simply explaining how Kenyon, the author of the poem, struggled with cancer in her life. It narrates her life with leukemia during her last days until her death occurred.

This is how readers get to learn to live by her example. The poem is short and, therefore, readers especially students do not get bored when they see its size. This helps readers understand the content in it since they do not read a lot of materials for them to understand quickly. This is the reason as to why it is like guidance to people in the society since it is not difficult to understand its meaning. There are many language devices in poetry.

They include simile, personification, and symbolism, together with others. The language that Jane Kenyon uses in her poem ‘Otherwise’ is quick and simple. It also contains little self- dramatizing. Her language in the poem indicates lack of self pity. There is the use of symbolism in the poem “Otherwise”. The author uses herself as the symbol in the poem. She represents a person who really appreciates everything he or she does. Also, she represents a human being who does not lose hope at any time.

She is a symbol of readiness to anything that could happen to her like death. In addition, Kenyon is hard working as it is stated in the poem. This is clearly indicated by her waking up in the morning, and is very grateful for the activities she is involved in during the day.

Significance of structuring of the poem ‘Otherwise’

This poem also contains short lines that are straightforward. These lines are to enable readers not struggle looking for the meaning of the poem. They get information that the poet was driving home during editing.


This poem ‘Otherwise’ has a number of styles that help in improving ones literature. The styles used the poem have a great impact to students in essay writing in literature.

It also helps in developing good living skills. For example, it enables individuals accept themselves and live according to their capabilities. This is a way that does not only improve a student’s educational skills but also life skills. The poem ‘Otherwise’ is a great encouragement to people in the society. The poet uses her own life description to help everyone understand that everything is possible regardless of their life conditions.

She continues the work of poetry in spite of the fact that she suffered from cancer. In her poem Jane Kenyon uses her life to encourage especially those who suffer from serious illnesses. She simply tells how to avoid sleeping or live hopelessly waiting for death. In other words, she tells people through her poem that illnesses should not act as barriers of our favorite duties.

Works Cited

Kenyon, Jane.

Constance: poems. St. Paul, Minn.: Graywolf Press, 1993. Print. This book contains a number of poems that Jane Kenyon composed in after completing her studies in the University of Michigan.

It contains poems that help in explaining the life of Jane Kenyon. Peseroff, Joyce. Simply lasting: writers on Jane Kenyon. Saint Paul, Minn.: Graywolf Press, 2005. Print.

This book explains the life of the author of the poem ‘Otherwise’. Therefore, it has helped in giving information about the author.


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