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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Donald Hall -- Poet

Host(s): Gregory Fitz Gerald and Rodney Parshall

Tape order number: VF-3-2

Visit Date: April 11, 1972

Length: 30 minutes

Published as:

  • "Here Where No One Has Ever Been: An Interview with Donald Hall." Gregory Fitz Gerald and Rodney Parshall,eds. The Falcon 4.7 (1973): 5-16.
  • "An Interview with Gregory Fitz Gerald and Rodney Parshall." Goatfoot Milktongue Twinbird. Donald Hall, ed. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1978. 76-91.

Brief Summary: Hall stresses poetry's form over poetry's message and emphasizes the craft of poetry, noting that he takes two to four years to finish a poem. He says that poems are never about anything, that they embody feelings and the release of the poet from the control of civilization; thus, the importance of pre-rational thinking and dreams to poets. Hall regrets omitting Ginsberg from the 1962 edition of Contemporary American Poetry.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • "Small Bone Bodies,"
  • the essay "An Ethic of Clarity"

Work(s) Read:

  • "The Man in the Dead Machine"
  • "Reclining Figure"

Writers mentioned:

  • Robert Bly
  • Robert Graves
  • LawrenceFerlinghetti
  • Gary Snyder
  • W. B. Yeats
  • William Carlos Williams
  • Robert Creeley
  • Richard Wilbur
  • Donald Justice
  • Robert Frost
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Ezra Pound
  • George Orwell
  • William Wordsworth
  • William Stafford
  • RichardEberhart
  • Thomas Hardy
  • W. D. Snodgras

I try to talk about the 'Peas Porridge Hot' part of John Donne.

-- Donald Hall

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