The Heart's Necessities: A Life in Poetry

Jane Tyson Clement (Author) Veery Huleatt (Editor)
& 1 more


Years after her death, a poet's life and work speak across the generations, inspiring new music and more intentional living.

What are the heart's necessities? It's a question Jane Tyson Clement asked herself over and over, both in her poetry and in the way she lived. The things that make life worth living she found in joy and grief, love and longing, and, most importantly, something to believe in. Her observation of the seasons of the soul and of the natural world have made her poems beloved to many readers, most recently jazz artist Becca Stevens. Clement's poetry has gained new life - and a new audience - as lyrics in the songs of this pioneering musician of another century.

Like many great poets, from Emily Dickinson to Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jane Tyson Clement (1917-2000) has found more readers since her death than in her lifetime. A new generation that prizes honesty and authenticity is finding in Clement - a restless, questing soul with a life as compelling as her work - a voice that expresses their own deepest feelings, values, and desires.

In this attractive coffee table collection of new and selected poems, editor Veery Huleatt complements Clement's poetry with narrative sketches and scrapbook visuals to weave a biography of this remarkable woman who took the road less traveled, choosing justice over comfort, conviction over career, and love over fame.

Product Details

$19.95  $18.35
Plough Publishing House
Publish Date
April 22, 2019
7.0 X 0.5 X 8.0 inches | 0.8 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Poet and short story writer Jane Tyson Clement (1917-2000) lived in Manhattan until she was nineteen, but preferred Bay Head, New Jersey, where the family owned a summer house. Bay Head's windswept shore drew her back year after year: "There was something eternal about it that was always a rock and an anchor for me." She graduated from Smith College in 1939, became a teacher, and married Robert Allen Clement, a Quaker attorney and fellow pacifist. Despite her privileged background, Clement was disturbed by the injustices she saw around her and yearned to do something constructive with her life, to move beyond the "frivolous, self-centered side of my nature...and to do something - anything - about the unfair treatment of workers, the hoarding of wealth in the hands of a few." Eventually this search led Jane and her family to join the Bruderhof, a community movement dedicated to practicing Jesus' teachings of nonviolence, economic equality, and social justice. Here Clement taught school, raised seven children, and, through her poetry and fiction, continued her search for wholeness and truth.

Evoking comparisons to Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mary Oliver, Jane Kenyon, and Denise Levertov, Jane Tyson Clement's poetry is direct and understated, drawing on familiar images from nature and daily life. Her story is told through the lens of her poetry in The Heart's Necessities: A Life in Poetry. Many additional poems are collected in No One Can Stem the Tide, and her short stories appear in The Secret Flower and Other Stories.
Veery Huleatt is an editor at Plough Quarterly and Plough Publishing House.
Becca Stevens books have grown out of her work as chaplain of St. Augustine's Chapel at Vanderbilt University, and as founder and director of Magdalene, a residential community for women with a criminal history of drug abuse and prostitution. Her work with Magdalene has earned national attention and spawned both a cottage industry, Thistle Farms, and related programs here and overseas.To date, she has raised nearly $13 million and gained nationwide press coverage for the organizations she supports. She has won numerous awards from organizations including the Frist Foundation and the Academy of Women in Achievement. She has been named the "Alumnus of the Year" by the School of Theology at the University of the South, "Nashvillian of the Year" by the Nashville Scene and "Tennessean of the Year" by The Tennessean. In October 2011, she was recognized as a "Champion of Change" by the Obama White House. She has written a number of articles, is a widely traveled speaker, and has both a blog and podcasts available online at She lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons, Levi, Caney, and Moses.


The poetry is brilliant, and it's inspired Becca to write stunning music.--David Crosby
Through hard-won religious commitment, Jane Tyson Clement's poems rose from feminine eloquence, in the manner of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, to something closer to universal.--Sarah Ruden, author of The Face of Water
A gem of a book... Poetry by an obscure dead poet, but with a twist: this poet, Jane Tyson Clement, has a huge fan in jazz/indie rock musician and singer Becca Stevens, and Plough Publishing has put the two of them together. It's an exciting book on many levels, especially when you hear the poetry put to music.--Independent Publisher Magazine
This beautiful homage to Jane Tyson Clement and her poetry, which will continue to resonate with readers and, through Becca Stevens' compositions, music lovers, also celebrates the kind of artistic collaboration that spans time and opens us to our own "heart's necessities."--Booklist
Huleatt's voice is captivating as she traces the history of a compassionate life lived. This moving collection on the life of a true poet is stellar. The final poem in the collection brought me to tears.--Sheryl Luna, poet, author of Pity the Drowned Horses
The genesis of The Heart's Necessities is a complex and interesting one. The journeys of being led from one discovery to another are very profound.--Carolyn Gelland-Frost, poet, author of Dream-Shuttle