Poetry Friday: The Legacy and Spirit of Donald Hall (and a bizarre chain of events)

It is truly amazing the way some things in our lives just all come together, as if they were meant to be.

On June 23, 2018, we lost one of the most important New Hampshire poets of the 20th century, Donald Hall. Among his many accolades, Hall was a former U.S. Poet Laureate and New Hampshire State Poet Laureate, and received the National Medal of Arts in 2010.

He had lived most recently in Wilmot, NH, about 35 minutes from where I live, but I never met him; he was rather reclusive in his final years, and while many knew where he lived, few ever saw him. But he continued writing very nearly up to the point he passed, a career stretching some 60 years or so.

Living in the Mt. Kearsarge area of the Granite State, Hall was often inspired by life on his farm, the wildlife around it, and the mountain that overlooked it:

“Mount Kearsarge”

Great blue mountain! Ghost.
I look at you 
from the porch of the farmhouse
where I watched you all summer…
(You can read the entire poem here)

Where am I going with this?

Well, you see, shortly after Hall’s death, Encircle Publications of Maine decided to publish a poetry anthology to celebrate his legacy, and put out a call to established New England poets to submit original works that were either inspired by Hall’s work or in some way reflected his spirit.

Being a New Hampshire boy who was not only very familiar with Hall but also lived in the same geographic area from which Hall drew much of his inspiration, I decided to submit a poem I had written about six years ago, titled “Stone-Kicking.”

I first began forming the lines of the poem just a mile away from my house, as I walked along a dirt road one autumn. The words, “I kick my dreams like stones in the road” coalesced in my head, and I knew right then I had a poem that needed to be written…which I began doing as soon as I got home.

Fast forward to today, I have learned that my poem was accepted – and will be published in the book, Except for Love: New England Poets inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Pub, 2019), scheduled for release on June 23, 2019, exactly one year since his passing. To say I’m honored and thrilled to be part of such an important book is an understatement.

Oh, and how does all this relate to what I said at the beginning of this post?

The very road that inspired my poem…with Mt. Kearsarge in the distance.

That’s right. I was inspired to write a poem – a poem that will be included in a book celebrating Donald Hall – while walking along a dirt road that lay in the presence of the very mountain that is synonymous with Hall himself! Call it Fate, call it coincidence, call it Divine Intervention; I had no idea the significance of what was doing, those six years ago.

Yet, here we are.

I’ll be sure to share more news of the book as we get closer to the publication date. For now, if you’re looking for more poetry, head Down Under – where my Aussie friend, Kathryn Apel, is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

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