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Rest in Peace, Donald Hall

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https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/obituaries/donald-hall-a-poet-laureate-of-the-rural-life-is-dead-at-89.html

Donald Hall, a former poet laureate of the United States who found a universe of meaning in the apples, ox carts and ordinary folk of his beloved rural New England, died on Saturday at his home in Wilmot, N.H. He was 89.

His death was announced by his literary agent, Wendy Strothman. He had overcome cancer, first diagnosed in 1989, beating the very odds of survival that he had given himself years ago.

Mr. Hall was one of the leading poets of his generation, frequently mentioned in the company of Robert Bly, James Wright and Galway Kinnell. In evoking a bucolic New England past and expressing a deep veneration of nature, he used simple and direct language, though often to surreal effect.

“Hall has long been placed in the Frostian tradition of the plainspoken rural poet,” Billy Collins, another American poet laureate, wrote in The Washington Post in April 2006, two months before Mr. Hall himself was given the post.

 

Mr. Hall’s poems often evoke not only place but also an almost geologic sense of time. In “Names of Horses,” he writes:

For a hundred and fifty years, in the pasture of dead horses,

roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,

yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter

frost heaved your bones in the ground — old toilers, soil makers.

 

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