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She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems Hardcover – April 5, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Caroline Kennedy is the author and editor of twelve bestselling books on American history, politics and poetry. She is the current United States Ambassador to Japan.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Voice; 1 edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401341454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401341459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Davis on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just when it appears poetry has become obsolete, along comes a champion who returns it beautifully to the forefront--to it's rightful place! Caroline Kennedy has compiled a wonderful book which looks at a woman's special journey through life. It elevates the female role to a place of beauty and honor. I loved the format and illustrations. Take off the cover and you will find gorgeous boards as well. This would make a very special Mother's Day gift for the woman who loves books. I love my copy! I wish I could give it more than 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lovely book....and lovely idea, to give the gift of a poem. Thank you, Caroline, for sharing your family's tradition...and reminding me of my mother. She gave me a set of books of poetry, when I was a child, that I continue to cherish. In our family, we all make cards for each other, of every mood and mode. Today, sending your books of poetry to special girls in my family---one being a birthday girl. Hope you continue to share poetry.
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Format: Hardcover
This collection of poetry is not your ordinary collection by any means. If I could give it a ten instead of a five I would!

When Caroline Kennedy was a little girl, her mother, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, read poetry to her. I remember from her book The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that this is where Caroline first began to appreciate poetry.

That deep appreciation for poetry has now translated into an amazing collection of works by many accomplished poets including Anne Sexton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, W.B. Yeats, Rumi, Sylvia Plath, Sappho, Shakespeare, and my personal favorite Mary Oliver--as well as many more.

Some of the poetry will be familiar to readers, some not. Some of the poets will be familiar, some not. Some are traditional, some are very modern. And, if you are already fond of poetry, I'd wager a guess that you're sure to find at least one that can be called "one of your favorites." For me, the absolute best treat was to find, in the "How To Live" section, my very favorite poem--one that I carry with me wherever I go: Mary Oliver's "The Journey." Which one will you choose as your favorite from the collection?

Kennedy has brought together nearly two hundred poems that speak to many of the milestones in every woman's life. Each section is prefaced with a short musing by Kennedy about the theme. What is apparent in all of them is that she is keenly aware of the differences and the common threads that make the collection and this book a perfect one for any and all women.

In her Introduction, Caroline Kennedy shares that each of three friends gave her a poem when she turned fifty. She hung on to them and shared them when it seemed appropriate to do so.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I mostly liked Kennedy's intros to each section--they provided a "set up" for why the poems she selected we there, and I enjoyed revisiting some old favorites as well as some poems that were new (to me), but it seemed awfully heavy on the romantic. I understood the book was centered on women, but I thought too much attention/too many sections were dedicated to romantic love (and overly idealistic notions of love or objectified notions of women). My favorite parts were the ones that dealt with the more realistic and tangible--the struggles and triumphs of daily live: growing older, grieving, etc. (I'd also like to have seen more women authors; there were many, but some sections, e.g. love, seemed predominately men writing about women.)

On the whole, it was a satisfactory read, but I wouldn't have purchased it had it not been a book club selection. The poems are quite accessible, so it was a good introduction to poetry (and a nice change of pace for our book club), but for a poetry lover, it tread heavily on well worn ground.
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Format: Hardcover
We bought this for Grandma for Mother's Day and both of us are enjoying it. I will be buying more copies for gifts. It is poems for women, so I wouldn't give this as a high school or college graduation gift, but these poems are like waves of refreshment. I don't know the last time I read a poem before this book, so it is a nice change from novels or self-help or cookbooks, which are my three main reading categories. I'd say this book feels like a mini-vacation or a guilty pleasure you can enjoy throughout the day. I'm sure I wouldn't have discovered this if it didn't get the publicity from being attached to Caroline Kennedy, and I'm very glad I did! Nice to give as a gift, even to someone you don't know very well. Definitely a gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered 4 copies of this book, one for my wife, one for my mother, one for my mother-in-law and one for my daughter who is also a mother. I figured that 2 of them would like it, but I was shocked when all four read and now quote from it. It was the perfect gift to 3 generations of moms. The poems are short and they can read all night or pick just one when they have time. My suggestion, go for it if you need a nice gift for that special woman in your life.
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Maybe it's because her life has had such tragedy that Caroline Kennedy can reach deep into her soul to find solace. Now she brings us the tools she's used throughout her life, so that we too, can find the road through womanhood, a little easier travel.

She Walks In Beauty, just happens to be one of my favorite poems. To me it speaks to the woman who doesn't stand out in a crowd, until you get to know her. She doesn't shine with light, but instead, reflects light as does the moon. The poem is about a woman who stands behind someone she loves, supporting them so that they can shine. Did Caroline choose this title because it's as if Byron wrote it for her mother, Jacqueline?

She Walks In Beauty is divided into the various periods of a woman's life, from falling in love, to making love, to clothes, to death and grief, friendship, growing old, and finally, how to live. Before each section Caroline speaks of her own moving through of a particular phase of her life. She's so well-spoken, and intelligent, but then what would you expect from a child who was born of two extraordinary parents?

Having grown up privileged, Caroline comes across as sensitive and compassionate, with a willingness to share the pain and joy of her life, through her love of poetry. Why poetry? To me, poetry condenses the emotions of our life, distilling them into celebration of life that doesn't always seem possible while we're living through our troubles.

This is a book I'll keep by my bedside to revel in the sheer beauty that the writers have managed to put down on paper. And what's especially wonderful about this book, is that I can go straight to the part of my life that needs some joy, or just the knowledge that someone else is going through the same thing as I am.
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