Old and New Poems

Old and New Poems

by Donald Hall
     
 

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This volume contains the finest short poetry Donald Hall has written, poems of landscape and love, of dedication and prophecy, poems that have won thousands of readers, as well as various prizes and honors.See more details below

Overview


This volume contains the finest short poetry Donald Hall has written, poems of landscape and love, of dedication and prophecy, poems that have won thousands of readers, as well as various prizes and honors.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This diverse collection, which gathers work from 1947 to 1990 by poet and steadfast New Englander Hall (National Book Critics Circle-winning The One Day ), will serve as a superb introduction to newcomers and a sumptuous offering to familiars. Given the book's scope, it is not surprising that a few early poems show somewhat less craft than do recent efforts; Hall's large-bodied, later poetry fully and freshly dominates the volume. Our delight is in following an exceptional poet's growth and depth as he emerges with a richly playful but consummately serious voice. Hall's mirth shines in ``O Cheese,'' a paean to ``the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh / Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner; / the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton / that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids,'' and in ``The Impossible Marriage,'' his whimsical dream of a union between Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. More somber narrative poems center on Hall's own experiences and on memories of his grandfather's New Hampshire dairy farm, where things rural suggest parables of life and death: ``We are all of us sheep, and death is our shepherd, / and we die as the animals die,'' he observes in ``The Black-Faced Sheep''. Farm animals are nearly always sublime subjects, with Holstein cows unforgettably described as ``these wallowing / big-eyed calf-makers, bone-rafters for leather, / awkward arks, cud-chewing lethargic mooers'' in ``Great Day in the Cows' House.'' If its most memorable poem is the haunting valediction in ``Praise for Death,'' Hall's magnum opus nevertheless bears witness to a vigorous poetic imagination matched by its generous vision of life: ``You listening here, you reading these words as I write them, / I offer this cup to you: Though we drink / from this cup every day, we will never drink it dry'' (``The Day I Was Older''). (Aug.)
Library Journal
Hall's long and vigorous life in poetry is represented here with poems taken from all his previous books (except 1988's The One Day ), a handful of uncollected pieces, and 22 poems written during the last four years. From the formal prosody of his earliest lyrics, through 1960s surrealism, to back-to-the-land narratives of life in rural New Hampshire, this collection could be a core sample from the bedrock of major American poetic styles. But Hall's ability to enlist humor, angst, and anecdote in his quest for great themes is unique. Though Hall is in his sixties, his newest work contains the same vim and spark that drives his older poems, approaching the level of achievement realized in what may be his finest, ``Kicking the Leaves.'' A fascinating and rewarding omnibus.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780899199542
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
07/28/1990
Pages:
258
Sales rank:
1,478,647
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

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