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The old lifeby Donald Hall
Synopses & Reviews
For nearly forty years, through changes in fashion and form, Donald Hall has stood in the front rank of American poets. The Old Life comprises the title poem, which is an autobiographical sequence, preceded by two substantial poems: The Night of the Day, which makes a thematic connection with his Old and New Poems (1990), and The Thirteenth Inning, which bridges the gap between this book and Hall's remarkable 1993 collection, The Museum of Clear Ideas . The book concludes with heartbreaking lyric, Without, commemorating the illness of his adored wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, who died in 1995. The title sequence takes Hall from his boyhood in New Haven (with summers in New Hampshire) to his education at Exeter and Harvard to his growing acquaintance with poets - seniors like Robert Frost and contemporaries like Robert Bly. It sees him growing into manhood, fatherhood, grandfatherhood, and a happy second marriage. When his life inevitably moves into vicissitude, even tragedy, he w
Former Poet Laureate Donald Halland#160;draws fromand#160;his ownand#160;childhood memories in this moving and masterful storyand#160;to give himself the thing he most wanted but didn't get asand#160;a boy: a Christmas at Eagle Pond.
Donald Hall draws on his own childhood memories and gives himself the thing he most wanted but didn't get as a boy: a Christmas at Eagle Pond.
Itandrsquo;s the Christmas season of 1940, and twelve-year-old Donnie takes the train to visit his grandparents' place in rural New Hampshire. Once there, he quickly settles into the farmandrsquo;s routines. In the barn, Gramp milks the cows and entertains his grandson by speaking rhymed pieces, while Donnieandrsquo;s eyes are drawn to an empty stall that houses a graceful, cobwebby sleigh. Now Model A's speed over the wintry roads, which must be plowed, and the beautiful sleigh has become obsolete. When the church pageant is over, the gifts are exchanged, and the remains of the Christmas feast put away, the air becomes heavy with fine snowflakesandmdash;the kind that fall at the start of a big stormandmdash;and everyone wonders, how will Donnie get back to his parents on time?
For nearly forty years, Donald Hall has stood in the front rank of American poets. The title poem, an autobiographical sequence, takes Hall from his boyhood to his growing acquaintance with poets--seniors like Robert Frost and contemporaries like Robert Bly. It sees him growing into manhood, fatherhood, grandfatherhood, and a happy second marriage. When his life inevitably moves into vicissitude, even tragedy, he will tell the dreadful truth about himself and the challenges of his time on earth.
About the Author
DONALD HALL, poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007, is author of String Too Short to Be Saved and more than a dozen other works of prose and poetry. His many awards include the National Medal of Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, and the 1990 Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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