Donald Hall was born in Hamden, Connecticut, the only child of Donald Andrew Hall, a businessman, and Lucy Wells. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, then earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1951 and a B.Litt, from Oxford in 1953. Hall received a honorary PhD, Lit. from Bates College in 1991.
Hall began writing even before reaching his teens, beginning with poems and short stories, and then moving on to novels and dramatic verse. Hall continued to write throughout his prep school years at Exeter, and, while still only sixteen years old, attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, where he made his first acquaintance with the poet Robert Frost.... more »
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Donald Hall Poems
Name Of Horses
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer, for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.
To grow old is to lose everything. Aging, everybody knows it. Even when we are young, we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
An old life
Snow fell in the night. At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish mounded softness where the Honda was. Cat fed and coffee made,
In a week or ten days the snow and ice will melt from Cemetery Road.
when my father had been dead a week I woke with his voice in my ear I sat up in bed
Christmas party at the South Danbury Chu...
December twenty-first we gather at the white Church festooned red and green, the tree flashing green-red lights beside the altar.
A storm was coming, that was why it was dark. The wind was blowing the fronds of the palm trees off. They were maples. I looked out the window across the big lawn. The house was huge, full of children and old people. The lion was loose. Either because of the wind, or by malevolent human energy, which is the same thing, the cage had come open. Suppose a child walked outside! A child walked outside. I knew that I must protect him from the lion. I threw myself on top of the child. The lion roared over me. In the branches and the bushes there was suddenly a loud crackling. The lion cringed. I looked up and saw that the elephant was loose!
Je Suis une table
It has happened suddenly, by surprise, in an arbor, or while drinking good coffee, after speaking, or before,
In the mid August, in the second year of my First Polar Expedition, the snow and ice of winter almost upon us, Kantiuk and I attempted to dash the sledge
The Man In The Dead Machine
High on a slope in New Guinea The Grumman Hellcat lodges among bright vines as thick as arms. In 1943,
A Poet at Twenty
Images leap with him from branch to branch. His eyes brighten, his head cocks, he pauses under a green bough, alert. And when I see him I want to hide him somewhere.
Mount Kearsarge Shines
Mount Kearsarge shines with ice; from hemlock branches snow slides onto snow; no stream, creek, or river budges but remains still. Tonight we carry armloads of logs
The Alligator Bride
The clock of my days winds down. The cat eats sparrows outside my window. Once, she brought me a small rabbit which we devoured together, under
If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words; if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire only the tribute of another's cry; if they employ each other
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Name Of Horses
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.
In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;
and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the...