5 Poems And Essays By Donald Hall You Can Read Online To Commemorate The Literary Legend
Donald Hall passed away at his home in Wilmot, N.H. on Saturday, at the age of 89. To remember his life and work, I've picked out five Donald Hall pieces you can read online today to enjoy the best of his work.
Hall began his writing career in the the 1950s and went on to publish more than 50 books in his lifetime. He served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2007, and most recently published a memoir, Essays after Eighty, in 2014 and a collection, The Selected Poems of Donald Hall, in 2015. According to the Poetry Foundation, "[Hall's] poetry explores the longing for a more bucolic past and reflects the poet’s abiding reverence for nature. Although Hall gained early success with his first collection, Exiles and Marriages (1955), his later poetry is generally regarded as the best of his career." Hall's 1988 book, The One Day, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The poet was a two-time Guggenheim fellow, who received the National Medal of the Arts in 2010.
Hall was married to N.H. Poet Laureate Jane Kenyon from 1972 until her death from leukemia in 1995. The couple bought Eagle Pond Farm in New Hampshire, which Hall's grandmother owned, after her death. The farm provided inspiration for much of Hall's work, as well as the title for the first piece on the list below.
Check out the five pieces I've selected to remember Donald Hall:
"At Eagle Pond"
"In April the ice rots. Over the pocked glaze, puddles / of gray stain spread / at midday. Every day an ice-fisherman / waits one weekend too many, and his shack sinks"
"Death to the Death of Poetry"
"A funeral director, in an advertisement, muses on the necessity for poetry in our daily lives. It’s hard to figure out just what he’s talking about, but it becomes clear that this poetry has nothing to do with poems. It sounds more like taking naps."
"Ox Cart Man"
"In October of the year, / he counts potatoes dug from the brown field, / counting the seed, counting / the cellar’s portion out, / and bags the rest on the cart’s floor."
"Poetry and Ambition"
"I see no reason to spend your life writing poems unless your goal is to write great poems."
"A Sister on the Tracks"
"Between pond and sheepbarn, by maples and watery birches, / Rebecca paces a double line of rust / in a sandy trench, striding on black / creosoted eight-by-eights."