Synopses & Reviews
You might expect the fact of dying--the dying of a beloved wife and fellow poet--to make for a bleak and lonely tale. But Donald Hall's poignant and courageous poetry, facing that dread fact, involves us all: the magnificent, humorous, and gifted woman, Jane Kenyon, who suffered and died; the doctors and nurses who tried but failed to save her; the neighbors, friends, and relatives who grieved for her; the husband who sat by her while she lived and afterward sat in their house alone with his pain, self-pity, and fury; and those of us who till now had nothing to do with it. As Donald Hall writes, "Remembered happiness is agony; so is remembered agony." Without will touch every feeling reader, for everyone has suffered loss and requires the fellowship of elegy. In the earth's oldest poem, when Gilgamesh howls of the death of Enkidu, a grieving reader of our own time may feel a kinship, across the abyss of four thousand years, with a Sumerian king. In Without Donald Hall speaks to us all of grief, as a poet lamenting the death of a poet, as a husband mourning the loss of a wife. Without is Hall's greatest and most honorable achievement -- his give and testimony, his lament and his celebration of loss and of love.
Donald Hall's poignant and courageous poetry speaks of the death of the magnificent, humorous, and gifted Jane Kenyon. Hall speaks to us all of grief, as a poet lamenting the death of a poet, as a husband mourning the loss of a wife. Without is Hall's greatest and most honorable achievement-his gift and testimony, his lament and his celebration of loss and of love.
About the Author
Donald Hall is the fourteenth poet laureate of the United States and the authorof more than two dozen books of poems and prose, including White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 19462006. His work has garnered many honors, among them the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry for The One Day; the Lenore Marshall Award for The Happy Man; the Robert Frost Silver Medal from the Poetry Society of America for Old and New Poems; and the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in recognition of his lifetime accomplishments. His poetry collection Without, which was written for Jane Kenyon during and after her illness, received the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Hall continues to inhabit the New Hampshire farmhouse where he and Jane Kenyon lived together.