Donald Hall was born 20 September 1928 and died 23 June 2018
- Literature starts by being personal, but the deeper we go inside the more we become everybody.
- My advice to young poets is pretty standard—read the old people. Read the 17th century. Don’t just read 20th century. Sometimes you get the impression that people think that poetry began in 1984 or something. And read the old boys and revise. Revise endlessly.
- I read poems for the pleasure of the mouth. My heart is in my mouth, and the sound of poetry is the way in.
- My body causes me trouble when I cross the room, but when I am sitting down writing, I am in my heaven — my old heaven. I began writing when I was 12, I don’t think very well. But I’ve been doing it my whole life. It’s been the centre of my life, with loves and children, but writing is something I have that not everyone has that I adore.
- Opposites are attracted when each one is anxious about its own character.
- At the beginning, my poems had nothing to do with me, almost all of them. As my life has gone on, one thing I’ve said is I began writing fully clothed and I took off my clothes bit by bit. Now I’m writing naked.
- You can not write to be immortal because you will never know. It’s impossible. Just write as well as you can and don’t speculate about whether you will be Chaucer or Shakespeare.
Donald Hall was an American poet, writer, editor, and literary critic. He was the author of over 50 books including works of children’s literature, biography, memoir, essays, and 22 volumes of poetry. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States from 2006-2007. A collection of his poems is available here: The Selected Poems of Donald Hall.
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