Old Poets: Reminiscences and Opinions (Hardcover)

Old Poets: Reminiscences and Opinions Cover Image

Old Poets: Reminiscences and Opinions (Hardcover)

By Donald Hall, Wesley McNair (Introduction by)


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"Old Poets is an indispensable jewel."

--Washington Post

"An astonishing array of encounters...Hall's observations are shrewd and generous."

--Boston Globe

Intimate portraits of great poets in old age, giving new insight into their work and their lives, and context to the often flawless art created by flawed human beings. The best of themselves endure, and the old poets' existence and endurance gives readers courage to pursue their own vision.

Donald Hall (Essays After Eighty and A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety) knew a great deal about work, about poetry, and about age. Each of those things come together in this unique collection. We hear about Robert Frost as Hall knew him: vain and cruel, a man possessed by guilt. But, as Hall writes, "The poet who survives is the poet to celebrate; the human being who confronts darkness and defeats it is the one to admire. For all his vanity, Robert Frost is admirable: He looked into his desert places, confronted his desire to enter the oblivion of the snowy woods, and drove on."

Hall's essays are once both intimate portraits and learned treatises. He takes us on a pub crawl through the Welsh countryside with the word-mad Dylan Thomas; to the Faber & Faber office of T. S. Eliot, who had discovered more happiness in age than in youth; to a reading where Robert Frost's public persona hid the truth; to Brooklyn for lunch with the enigmatic Marianne Moore; and to Italy and for a visit with the notorious Ezra Pound. By the time Hall met them, each poet was, he observed, "old enough to have detached from ongoing poetry, to feel alien to the ambitions of the grandchildren."

Also included are portraits of the poets who taught Hall as a writer: the unfailingly kind Archibald MacLeish and Yvor Winters, from whom he learned the most about poetry. Along the way are observations about many other poets and the literary cultures that sustained them.

Contents include: "Vanity, Fame, Love, and Robert Frost," "Dylan Thomas and Public Suicide," "Notes on T. S. Eliot," "Rocks and Whirlpools: Archibald MacLeish and Yvor Winters," "Marianne Moore: Valiant and Alien," and "Fragments of Ezra Pound."

For lovers of literature, this is a gorgeous remembrance and likely to compel an immediate visit to the poetry section of the nearest bookstore--as Hall writes, "Their presences have been emblems in my life, and I remember these poets as if I kept them carved in stone."
Product Details ISBN: 9781567926958
ISBN-10: 1567926959
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
Publication Date: December 28th, 2021
Pages: 304
Language: English


Celebrating the power of story, the inaugural Santa Fe Literary Festival will be an unforgettable weekend dedicated to a shared love and language of ideas. Collected Works Bookstore is thrilled to be the official bookstore of the Festival. 

Bestselling, prizewinning authors and literary legends like Margaret Atwood, Joy Harjo, Colson Whitehead, Sandra Cisneros, John Grisham, amongst others, will headline the festival, discussing their work with readings and book signings that set the stage for further inspired conversations.

NOTE: If you purchase a festival event ticket that is INCLUSIVE of the author's book, you will receive that book upon check-in for your event at the festival.

To order books by festival authors directly from CW, see below. Collected Works will be carrying a wide selection of books by all participating authors available for online pre-order and at the on-site festival bookstore May 20-23.

Purchase your tickets from the SF Literary Festival website here.

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Margaret Atwood     Freddie Bitsoie     Sandra Cisneros

Lynn Cline     William deBuys     Ashley Ford

John Grisham     Roshi Joan Halifax     Joy Harjo

Anne Hillerman     Cheryl Alters Jamison     Craig Johnson

Asma Khan     Phil Klay      Jon Krakauer

Valeria Luiselli     Deborah Madison      Emily St. John Mandel

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Carmella Padilla     Douglas Preston     Kirstin Valdez Quade

Bob Shacochis     Henry Shukman     Hampton Sides

Bryant Terry     Darryl Lorenzo Wellington     Colson Whitehead

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