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Essays After Eighty
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544286944
Pages: 304
Year: 2014-12-02
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"Alternately lyrical and laugh-out-loud funny."—New York Times “Deliciously readable . . . Donald Hall, if abandoned by the muse of poetry, has wrought his prose to a keen autumnal edge.” — Wall Street Journal His entire life, Donald Hall dedicated himself to the written word, putting together a storied career as a poet, essayist, and memoirist. Here, in the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of very old age, his essays startle, move, and delight. In Essays After Eighty, Hall ruminates on his past: “thirty was terrifying, forty I never noticed because I was drunk, fifty was best with a total change of life, sixty extended the bliss of fifty . . .” He also addresses his present: “When I turned eighty and rubbed testosterone on my chest, my beard roared like a lion and gained four inches.” Most memorably, Hall writes about his enduring love affair with his ancestral Eagle Pond Farm and with the writing life that sustains him every day: “Yesterday my first nap was at 9:30 a.m., but when I awoke I wrote again.” “Alluring, inspirational hominess . . . Essays After Eighty is a treasure . . . balancing frankness about losses with humor and gratitude.” — Washington Post “A fine book of remembering all sorts of things past, Essays After Eighty is to be treasured.” — Boston Globe
Essays After Eighty
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544287045
Pages: 134
Year: 2014-07-01
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From a former Poet Laureate, a new collection of essays delivering a gloriously unexpected view from the vantage point of very old age Donald Hall has lived a remarkable life of letters, a career capped by a National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president. Now, in the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of very old age, he is writing searching essays that startle, move, and delight. In the transgressive and horrifyingly funny “No Smoking,” he looks back over his lifetime, and several of his ancestors’ lifetimes, of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, packs of them every day. Hall paints his past: “Decades followed each other — thirty was terrifying, forty I never noticed because I was drunk, fifty was best with a total change of life, sixty extended the bliss of fifty . . .” And, poignantly, often joyfully, he limns his present: “When I turned eighty and rubbed testosterone on my chest, my beard roared like a lion and gained four inches.” Most memorably, Hall writes about his enduring love affair with his ancestral Eagle Pond Farm and with the writing life that sustains him, every day: “Yesterday my first nap was at 9:30 a.m., but when I awoke I wrote again.”
A Carnival of Losses
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 1328826317
Pages: 224
Year: 2018-07-10
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New essays from the vantage point of very old age, once again “alternately lyrical and laugh-out-loud funny,”* from the former poet laureate of the United States * New York Times Donald Hall lived a remarkable life of letters, one capped most recently by the New York Times bestseller Essays After Eighty, a “treasure” of a book in which he “balance[s] frankness about losses with humor and gratitude” (Washington Post). Before his passing in 2018, nearing ninety, Hall delivered this new collection of self-knowing, fierce, and funny essays on aging, the pleasures of solitude, and the sometimes astonishing freedoms arising from both. He intersperses memories of exuberant days—as in Paris, 1951, with a French girl memorably inclined to say, “I couldn’t care less”—with writing, visceral and hilarious, on what he has called the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of extreme old age. “Why should a nonagenarian hold anything back?” Hall answers his own question by revealing several vivid instances of “the worst thing I ever did," and through equally uncensored tales of literary friendships spanning decades, with James Wright, Richard Wilbur, Seamus Heaney, and other luminaries. Cementing his place alongside Roger Angell and Joan Didion as a generous and profound chronicler of loss, Hall returns to the death of his beloved wife, Jane Kenyon, in an essay as original and searing as anything he's written in his extraordinary literary lifetime.
Here at Eagle Pond
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0618084738
Pages: 168
Year: 2000
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In these tender essays, Hall shares his memories and thoughts on growing up in New Hampshire on his grandparent's dairy farm, of the seasons, and of his connection to the land, his family, and his coming home.
Unpacking the Boxes
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547348037
Pages: 208
Year: 2009-09-11
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Donald Hall’s remarkable life in poetry — a career capped by his appointment as U.S. poet laureate in 2006 — comes alive in this richly detailed, self-revealing memoir. Hall’s invaluable record of the making of a poet begins with his childhood in Depression-era suburban Connecticut, where he first realized poetry was “secret, dangerous, wicked, and delicious,” and ends with what he calls “the planet of antiquity,” a time of life dramatically punctuated by his appointment as poet laureate of the United States. Hall writes eloquently of the poetry and books that moved and formed him as a child and young man, and of adolescent efforts at poetry writing — an endeavor he wryly describes as more hormonal than artistic. His painful formative days at Exeter, where he was sent like a naive lamb to a high WASP academic slaughter, are followed by a poetic self-liberation of sorts at Harvard. Here he rubs elbows with Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and Edward Gorey, and begins lifelong friendships with Robert Bly, Adrienne Rich, and George Plimpton. After Harvard, Hall is off to Oxford, where the high spirits and rampant poetry careerism of the postwar university scene are brilliantly captured. At eighty, Hall is as painstakingly honest about his failures and low points as a poet, writer, lover, and father as he is about his successes, making Unpacking the Boxes — his first book since being named poet laureate — both revelatory and tremendously poignant.
Fathers Playing Catch with Sons
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: North Point Press
ISBN: 1466897260
Pages: 208
Year: 2017-08-08
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In the pantheon of great sports literature, not a few poets have tried their hand at paying tribute to their love affair with the game -- Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams among them. This elegant volume collects Donald Hall's prose about sports, concentrating on baseball but extending to basketball, football and Ping-Pong. The essays are a wonderful mixture of reminiscence and observation, of baseball and of fathers and sons, of how a game binds people together and bridges generations.
String Too Short to be Saved
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
ISBN: 087923282X
Pages: 155
Year: 1979
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This is a collection of stories diverse in subject, but sutured together by the limitless affection the author holds for the land and the people of New England. Donald Hall tells about life on a small farm where, as a boy, he spent summers with his grandparents. Gradually the boy grows to be a young man, sees his grandparents aging, the farm become marginal, and finally, the cows sold and the barn abandoned. But these are more than nostalgic memories, for in the measured and tender prose of each episode are signs of the end of things - a childhood, perhaps a culture. In an Epilogue written for this edition, Donald Hall describes his return to the farm twenty-five years later, to live the rest of his life in the house of string. We take pleasure in bringing back into print this classic account of boyhood summers in old New England, with the addition of an Epilogue and an album of family snapshots.
Life Work
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 0807095427
Pages: 136
Year: 2012-03-13
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Distinguished poet Donald Hall reflects on the meaning of work, solitude, and love "The best new book I have read this year, of extraordinary nobility and wisdom. It will remain with me always."—Louis Begley, The New York Times "A sustained meditation on work as the key to personal happiness. . . . Life Work reads most of all like a first-person psychological novel with a poet named Donald Hall as its protagonist. . . . Hall's particular talents ultimately [are] for the memoir, a genre in which he has few living equals. In his hands the memoir is only partially an autobiographical genre. He pours both his full critical intelligence and poetic sensibility into the form."—Dana Gioia, Los Angeles Times "Hall . . . here offers a meditative look at his life as a writer in a spare and beautifully crafted memoir. Devoted to his art, Hall can barely wait for the sun to rise each morning so that he can begin the task of shaping words."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) "I [am] delighted and moved by Donald Hall's Life Work, his autobiographical tribute to sheer work--as distinguished from labor--as the most satisfying and ennobling of activities, whether one is writing, canning vegetables or playing a dung fork on a New Hampshire farm."—Paul Fussell, The Boston Globe “Donald Hall’s Life Work has been strangely gripping, what with his daily to do lists, his ruminations on the sublimating power of work. Hall has written so much about that house in New Hampshire where he lives that I’m beginning to think of it less as a place than a state of mind. I find it odd that a creative mind can work with such Spartan organization (he describes waiting for the alarm to go off at 4:45 AM, so eager is he to get to his desk) at such a mysterious activity (making a poem work) without getting in the way of itself.”—John Freeman’s blog (National Book Critics Circle Board President)
The Back Chamber
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547646453
Pages: 96
Year: 2011-09-13
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The first full-length volume of poems in a decade by the former poet laureate of the United States In The Back Chamber, Donald Hall illuminates the evocative, iconic objects of deep memory—a cowbell, a white stone perfectly round, a three-legged milking stool—that serve to foreground the rich meditations on time and mortality that run through his remarkable new collection. While Hall’s devoted readers will recognize many of his long-standing preoccupations—baseball, the family farm, love, sex, and friendship—what will strike them as new is the fierce, pitiless poignancy he reveals as his own life’s end comes into view. The Back Chamber is far from being death-haunted, but rather is lively, irreverent, erotic, hilarious, ironic, and sly—full of the life-affirming energy that has made Donald Hall one of America’s most popular and enduring poets.
Without
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0395957656
Pages: 81
Year: 1999
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A collection of poems elegizing the author's late wife examines her suffering and death, the doctors and nurses who tried to help her, and the friends and relatives that grieved for her
The Selected Poems of Donald Hall
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544555619
Pages: 208
Year: 2015-12-01
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“The hard-won achievement of a lifetime.” — Wall Street Journal “When I was twelve I wrote my first poem, and by fourteen I decided that’s what I’d do my whole life. I don’t regret it.” — from the afterword by Donald Hall Donald Hall is an American master, one of the nation’s most beloved and accomplished poets. Now in his eighties, having taken stock of the body of his work—rigorous, gorgeous verse that is the result of seventy years of “ambition and pleasure”—he strips it down. The Selected Poems of Donald Hall reflects the poet’s handpicked, concise selection, showcasing work rich with humor and Eros and “a kind of simplicity that succeeds in engaging the reader in the first few lines” (Billy Collins). From the enduring “My Son My Executioner” to “Names of Horses” to “Without,” Donald Hall’s best poems deliver “a banquet in the mouth” (Charles Simic) and an “aching elegance” (Baltimore Sun). For the first-time reader or an old friend, these are, above all others, the poems to read, reread, and remember.
Willow Temple
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547595638
Pages: 224
Year: 2004-08-23
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A contemplative selection of twelve short stories from the celebrated author Donald Hall, Willow Temple focuses on the effects of divorce, adultery, and neglect. Hall's stories are reminiscent of those of Alice Munro and William Maxwell in their mastery of form and their ability to trace the emotional fault lines connecting generations. "From Willow Temple" is the indelible story of a child's witness of her mother's adultery and the loss that underlies it. Three stories present David Bardo at crucial junctures of his life, beginning as a child drawn to his parents' "cozy adult coven of drunks" and growing into a young man whose intense first affair undergirds a lifelong taste for ardor and betrayal. In this superbly perceptive collection, Hall gives memorable accounts of the passionate weight of lives.
The Best Day the Worst Day
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547346980
Pages: 272
Year: 2006-11-08
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A candid memoir of love, art, and grief from a celebrated man of letters, United States poet laureate Donald Hall In an intimate record of his twenty-three-year marriage to poet Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall recounts the rich pleasures and the unforeseen trials of their shared life. The couple made a home at their New England farmhouse, where they rejoiced in rituals of writing, gardening, caring for pets, and connecting with their rural community through friends and church. The Best Day the Worst Day presents a portrait of the inner moods of "the best marriage I know about," as Hall has written, against the stark medical emergency of Jane's leukemia, which ended her life in fifteen months. Between recollections of better times, Hall shares with readers the daily ordeal of Jane's dying through heartbreaking but ultimately inspiring storytelling.
Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball
Author: Donald Hall
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1439146020
Pages: 352
Year: 2010-05-11
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One of America's finest poets joins forces with one of baseball's most outrageous pitchers to paint a revealing portrait of our national game. Donald Hall's forceful, yet elegant, prose brings together all the elements of Dock Ellis's story into a seamless whole. The two of them, the pitcher and the poet, give us remarkable insight into the customs and culture of this closed clannish world. Dock's keen vision, filtered through Hall's extraordinary voice, shows us the hardships and problems of the thinking athlete in an unthinking world.
The Eighty-Dollar Champion
Author: Elizabeth Letts
Publisher: Random House Digital, Inc.
ISBN: 0345521099
Pages: 338
Year: 2012
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Traces the story of a champion equine jumper and the Dutch farmer who rescued him from the slaughterhouse, recounting how the farmer discovered Snowman's jumping talents and trained him to compete against the world's thoroughbreds.