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Principal Products of Portugal: Prose Pieces

Overview

If we believe that the most engaging people have eclectic interests, then Donald Hall is incontrovertibly our most engaging man of letters. Prize-winning poet, teacher, essayist, children's book writer, Hall here reflects on some of the things he holds most dear: his family home at New Hampshire's Eagle Pond, baseball, poetry, artists and writers named Henry (Moore, Adams, and James), trees, politics, graveyards, basketball, and reading out loud.

Collected here for the first ...

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Overview

If we believe that the most engaging people have eclectic interests, then Donald Hall is incontrovertibly our most engaging man of letters. Prize-winning poet, teacher, essayist, children's book writer, Hall here reflects on some of the things he holds most dear: his family home at New Hampshire's Eagle Pond, baseball, poetry, artists and writers named Henry (Moore, Adams, and James), trees, politics, graveyards, basketball, and reading out loud.

Collected here for the first time are Hall's reminiscences of time spent with the sculptor Henry Moore, appreciations of his sports heroes such as Bob Cousy, Red Auerbach, Carlton Fisk, and his insightful and inspiring readings of fellow poets, E. A. Robinson, Andrew Marvell, James Wright, and others. This undeniably eclectic mix is a celebration and catalog of a writer's subjects. In Hall's words, "The title should please not only for its prodigious procession of p's but for bringing back memories of rote recitation standing in the third grade doing the multiplication tables, 7's maybe, or maybe the principal products of Portugal."

Hall's dedication to the written word will be familiar to readers of his poetry and his autobiographical essay Life Work, a "sustained meditation on work as the key to personal happiness," according to the Los Angeles
Times
. Principal Products of Portugal gives Hall's readers a fresh perspective on familiar subjects as well as a deeper appreciation for the making of a reader, writer, and poet.

The author of Life Work, a celebration of meaningful work and a chronicle of the author's own mortality, now takes readers on a tour of things he loves: baseball, the multipurposeness of the New Hampshire country store, poetry, and trees. Writing with respect, humor and love, Hall provides insight into creativity and work.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This eloquent and perceptive collection of previously published articles by Hall, a poet The One Day and essayist Life Work, is a joy to read. Not surprisingly, he is at his most incisive when writing about poets and their craft. In ``Long Robinson,'' he muses on the masterful style of Edwin Arlington Robinson and argues convincingly for his restoration to a major place in American poetry. Hall's love of words-``I take sentences apart and put them together again''-informs his critical tributes to historian Henry Adams and poet James Wright. A sports buff, he also pays homage to basketball great Bob Cousy and baseball's Carlton Fisk. An afterword describes Hall's struggles to write effective prose and comments on the creative relationship between essays and poetry. Apr.
Library Journal
Hall, prose writer Life Work, LJ 10/15/93 and poet Museum of Clear Ideas, LJ 2/1/93 for more than 40 years, has gathered two dozen new or previously uncollected essays in this compilation. Well known for his nostalgic essays on sports, Hall will delight his fans with several pieces here on baseball and basketball, their former players, and their lasting attractions. In his lamentation on the lost art of reciting and reading aloud, from which the title is drawn, Hall encourages readers to "connect words with the noises they make in their mouths." His poetic prose is reason enough to follow his advice. Whether arguing eloquently for support of the arts, describing the "continuous party" of the country store, or recounting a day in the creative life of Henry Moore, Hall's words touch our minds and our senses. Essays such as Hall's are treasures to cherish.-Cathy Sabol, Northern Virginia Community Coll., Manassas
Booknews
A collection of Hall's essays, including reminiscences of time spent with the sculptor Henry Moore; appreciation of his sports heroes such as Bob Cousy, Red Auerbach, Carlton Fisk; and readings of the poets E. A. Robinson, Andrew Marvell, James Wright, and others. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807062036
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet 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.
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Table of Contents

Credits
Preface
Ballad of the Republic 1
Trees 16
Words of Henry Adams 20
On Moving One's Lips, While Reading 50
The Darkened Parlor 57
Graveyard People 62
Bluejeans and Robert Francis 68
Art for Life for Art 75
The Unsayable Said 81
Marvell's Manyness 89
Long Robinson 104
Lament for a Maker 118
Long Live the Dead 140
Reading, Sorrow, and Dread 146
Henry Moore's Day 152
Cousy's Fires 173
Auerbach in Bronze 179
October's Shortstop 194
Pitching Forever 206
Generations of Carlton Fisk 214
That Swing in 1941 220
The Continuous Party 225
Grandfathering 230
War Cards, Purpose, and Blame 237
Afterword: "We Have Lived by Our Wits" 250
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