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Donald Hall in Conversation with Ian Hamilton

Authors: Ian Hamilton

Published by Between The Lines

ISBN: 9780953284146

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A 112 page volume, containing a 27,000 word interview, with a career sketch, a comprehensive bibliography, and a representative selection of quotations from Hall's critics and reviewers. Also included is Hall's recent poem, Tidying.

Hall comes across as a professional poet who has made the most of the institutional opportunities available in post-war America to build a career as writer and teacher. Twenty-two pages of closely printed bibliography attest to the scale and range of his work as an editor and anthologist … Even-tempered and meticulous, he exemplifies a contented subservience to the work ethic. Poetry, for Hall, is a craft which can be laboured at in the expectation of success proportionate to investment of effort.

He is as practical and dispassionate in his attitude to subject matter as to poetic form: both are to be extended in the interests of furthering the reach of his poetry, and if private experience is to be drawn on, it does not deserve any more excitable treatment than other topics. He, none the less, speaks at length about his personbal life in the interview, bringing a stoic grace to his account of the circumstances and aftermath of the death of his wife, the poet Jane Kenyon. 'Tidying', the revealingly titled sample lyric, offers a characteristically exact meditation on that aftermath.

Patrick Crotty, Times Literary Supplement, October 27th, 2000
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