Thursday, June 15, 2006

new poet laureate

I haven't read much Donald Hall, but he was married to the late Jane Kenyon, who is a favorite poet of mine thanks to Jack's recommendation.

N.H. writer to be U.S. poet laureate
By Beverley Wang, Associated Press

WILMOT - A fax last week informed Donald Hall he would be the next poet laureate of the United States, and since then, between phone calls, sitting for photographs and giving interviews, he has been thinking about his new job.
"I had one friend, I asked him to give me ideas for what I can do as poet laureate, and he typed out 85," said Hall, a former New Hampshire poet laureate.

Maxine Kumin, a friend and former state and national poet laureate from Warner, founded a women’s poetry series. Ted Kooser, the current poet laureate, has a weekly newspaper column, "American Life in Poetry."

In the living room of his farmhouse Tuesday, Hall wondered whether he could persuade a cable television network to run an occasional program of poetry, or convince satellite radio to create a poetry-only channel.

"I think most of the things I think about are unrealistic because they would take a great wad of cash to get started," he said. But you never know. "I can ask," he said, smiling.

Hall, 77, will assume his duties this fall. Poet laureates receive $35,000 for the year as well as a travel allowance.

The Library of Congress says it tries to keep official duties of its poet laureates to a minimum so they can work on their own projects.

Hall is to speak at the library’s National Book Festival on Sept. 30 in Washington and to open the library’s annual literary series in October with a reading of his work.

"Donald Hall is one of America’s most distinctive and respected literary figures," Librarian of Congress James Billington said in an announcement prepared for delivery Wednesday. "For more than 50 years, he has written beautiful poetry on a wide variety of subjects that are often distinctly American and conveyed with passion."

At age 12, Hall wrote his first poem, an overwrought piece about death. Two years later, he declared his ambition to become a poet.

"When I was 14, I decided that’s what I wanted to do with my whole life, and that’s what I’ve done.

"It was because of the love of the art that I began to write at all, not because I had something to say, but because I loved the art of poetry."

Hall said he writes from passion, not for prizes.

"I don’t have an end in view besides the making of poems," he said.


Blogger megan said...

I like that he lives in a farmhouse.

Wouldn't it be great to live in a farmhouse and be the U.S. Poet Laureate?

I'd say that goes does as the best life ever.

7:48 PM | Permalink  

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