Synopses & Reviews
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.”
"As this book shows, Hall...has not lost his touch. Laconic, witty, and lyrical, Hall is a master stylist, yet he remains refreshingly humble and matter-of-fact ...By exploring the joys and vicissitudes of a long life, this work offers revealing insights into the human condition—and the grit and openness it requires." --Publishers Weekly
, starred review
"The writing life at age 85...[A] sense of joy infuses these gentle essays. "Old age sits in a chair," writes Hall, "writing a little and diminishing." For the author, writing has been, and continues to be, his passionate revenge against diminishing. " --Kirkus Reviews
It is 1917 in rural New Hampshire when twelve-year-old Willard Babson and his father see a roadster slide into a ditch in front of them. "You know anybody can pull me out of here?" asks the tall young driver--and Willard realizes he's staring at Babe Ruth, the best left-hander in baseball.
From a former Poet Laureate, a new collection of essays delivering a gloriously unexpected view from the vantage point of very old age
About the Author
DONALD HALL, who served as poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president.
BARRY MOSER is the prize-winning illustrator of many beautiful books for children and adults, including Harcourt's Telling Time with Big Mama Cat and Sit, Truman!, both co-illustrated by his daughter Cara Moser and written by Dan Harper. He has won the American Book Award and earned accolades from the American Library Association and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Mr. Moser lives in western Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Out the Window 1
Essays After Eighty 12
A Yeti in the District 16
One Road 28
Thank You Thank You 38
Three Beards 51
No Smoking 60
Physical Malfitness 70
Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. 79
On Rejection and Resurrection 98
Garlic with Everything 105
A House Without a Door 116