HOORAY...DONALD HALL! One of my favorite poets, Donald Hall, has been named the new Poet Laureate of America. Yeah, yeah...he's accessible. Go ahead and get over it now. The work he wrote after the death of his wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, is some of the most moving and visceral work I've ever read (Remembered happiness is agony/so is remembered agony). I also admire him for his work on the NEA board and encouraging the body not to give in to homophobes and bigots when giving out artistic grants. I look forward to how Hall will use his time as Poet Laureate. And I hope he comes to Atlanta soon...hint, hint Poetry at Tech!

And of course, this well educated man (Harvard and Oxford) made the academics cry foul after his AWP lecture, Poetry and Ambition, where he called for abolishing MFA programs and accused writing workshops and universities of churning out poets who write "McPoems" and seek nothing but acclaim, a publishing contract with Knopf and a Pulitzer, while the art takes a backseat.

His collection Without reads like a novel and is devastating in its honesty about the loss of Kenyon to leukemia in 1995. Hall said in an interview that he wanted the poems to be frank and direct. "As I get older, I think I become more and more naked," he said. Ah...yes. That's why I like this man...and what I aspire to as I continue writing.

Comments

Kate Evans said…
thanks for the news, Collin. I've been out of the loop on this one.

accessible? shiver...goddess forbid...

that is such an intense photo of him.

By the way, this weekend I'll be signing my book at the Portland Pridefest. That means I'm GETTING copies of my book! I'll be sure to send you one when we get back.

happy writing...
Collin said…
Thanks, Kate. I'll send my book to you as well. I haven't forgotten. :)

Yes, some of the poetry bloggers and commenters are sneering at the choice of Hall. There's always bitterness and contempt in the poetry world, but you really find out who wears their ass on their sleeve when someone wins a big prize or gets name PL.
Carl Bryant said…
I think Hall will be perfect for the office. He's ballsy, beyond the need for peer approval, and he takes no shit.

Accessibility often gets blasted by those who shroud mediocrity of thought behind obscure lines. Remove the bullshit, and most poems contain only one or two trivial thoughts.

Hall's honesty is refreshing.

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