Friday, May 27, 2011

She Walks in Beauty

Publisher's Summary. n She Walks in Beauty, Caroline Kennedy has once again marshaled the gifts of our greatest poets to pay a very personal tribute to the human experience, this time to the complex and fascinating subject of womanhood. Inspired by her own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother, She Walks in Beauty draws on poetry’s eloquent wisdom to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman. 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.

She walks in beauty

George Gordon, Lord Byron


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.


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.


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!

On the eve of her 50th birthday, Caroline Kennedy began reflecting on her historical half century of life. Friends sent poems to help mark the occasion. While the poems comforted Kennedy, they also inspired her to put together this amazing poetry collection for women (and men) everywhere!

Each chapter of She Walks in Beauty contains a set of poems organized around a pivotal milestone, such as, falling in and out of love, marriage, motherhood and much, much more! Poets highlighted in the collection include, among others,: Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, Queen Elizabeth I, Ann Sexton, various ancient Greeks and even the Bible! Kennedy introduces each chapter with an insightful essay that weaves the poems into a thematic narrative.

I listened to the audio book version of She Walks in Beauty which is read by Kennedy (in narrative passages) along with notable actors Jane Alexander, John Bedford Lloyd, Hope Davis and Campbell Scott. I highly recommend the audio version as listening to the poems was akin to having my own private poetry reading!

She Walks in Beauty is a thoughtful and entertaining reflection on women’s lives!

Review copy provided courtesy of the publisher!


  1. Writing this one down for audio reads.

    Loved the excerpt you added most.