Donald Hall, American Poet ( September 20, 1928 - )

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I'm happy to feed the squirrels - tree rats with the agility of point guards - but in fair weather, they frighten my finches. They leap from snowbank to porch to feeder and stuff their cheek pouches with chickadee feed.~Donald Hall

Happy Tree Weather

I felt the need to be more open and expressive of my feelings, not just about the hills and the countryside, but about the daily life.~Donald Hall

Life Daily Feelings

Poetry is what I've done my whole life. And every important thing in my life had found itself into poems.~Donald Hall

Life Poetry My Life

Every afternoon, I shut the door of my bedroom to write: Poetry was secret, dangerous, wicked and delicious.~Donald Hall

Poetry Door Wicked

A fellowship to Oxford acquainted me with the depths of English cooking. By the twenty-first century, London's best restaurants are as good as Paris's, but not in the 1950s.~Donald Hall

Best Good Cooking

Many times I have written something, and after it was published, I understood what I was saying.~Donald Hall

Saying Understood Times

However alert we are, antiquity remains an unknown, unanticipated galaxy.~Donald Hall

Unknown Galaxy Antiquity

I grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut - during the school time of year - but I preferred it in New Hampshire. I preferred the culture, the landscape, the relative solitude. I've always loved it.~Donald Hall

Time School Culture

New poems no longer come to me with their prodigies of metaphor and assonance. Prose endures. I feel the circles grow smaller, and old age is a ceremony of losses, which is, on the whole, preferable to dying at forty-seven or fifty-two.~Donald Hall

Age Old Age Me

Not everything in old age is grim. I haven't walked through an airport for years, and wheelchairs are the way to travel.~Donald Hall

Travel Age Old Age

When I lament and darken over my diminishments, I accomplish nothing. It's better to sit at the window all day, pleased to watch birds, barns, and flowers.~Donald Hall

Flowers Day Window

Contentment is work so engrossing that you do not know that you are working.~Donald Hall

Work You Know

Friends die, friends become demented, friends quarrel, friends drift with old age into silence.~Donald Hall

Age Silence Friends

I loathe the trivialization of poetry that happens in creative writing classes. Teachers set exercises to stimulate subject matter: Write a poem about an imaginary landscape with real people in it. Write about a place your parents lived in before you were born. We have enough terrible poetry around without encouraging more of it.~Donald Hall

Parents Poetry Creative

Prose is not so dependent on sound. The line of poetry, with the breaking of the line - to me, sound is the kind of doorway into poetry. And my sense of sound, or my ability to control it, lapsed or grew less.~Donald Hall

Poetry Me Control

I really feel better about aging at the age of 86 than I did at 70.~Donald Hall

Age Better Aging

Everything important always begins from something trivial.~Donald Hall

Wisdom Important Always

Poetry offers works of art that are beautiful, like paintings, which are my second favorite work of the art, but there are also works of art that embody emotion and that are kind of school for feeling. They teach how to feel, and they do this by the means of their beauty of language.~Donald Hall

Work Art Beauty

Obviously, death is ahead of me. I don't look forward to dying one little bit. But, you know, I simply don't worry about it because it's going to happen to me as it does to anybody.~Donald Hall

Death Me Worry

I have seen so many poets who were famous, who won all sorts of prizes, disappear with their death. I write as good as I can and don't try to turn that into some hope for a future that I could never know.~Donald Hall

Death Future Hope

After a couple of years of public high school, I went to Exeter - an insane conglomeration of adolescent males in the wilderness, all of whom claimed to hate poetry.~Donald Hall

School Poetry Hate

My parents were willing to let me follow my nose, do what I wanted to do, and they supported my interest by buying the books that I wanted for birthdays and Christmas, almost always poetry books.~Donald Hall

Parents Poetry Me

In anything you write - in a short story, a poem - there has to be a counter-motion; it can't go all in one direction.~Donald Hall

Short Direction You

I think my very best work came out when I was about 60, not when I was 20. I was publishing all the time when I was in my 20s, and some of those poems I still like. And there were a few after 60, and in my 70s, that I like. But they became fewer and fewer.~Donald Hall

Work Time Best

I'd heard of writers who say they hate to write. Not me. I love to do it.~Donald Hall

Love Hate Me

I have to do draft after draft... It takes me a long time, but I love doing it, and I have to do it every day, or I feel slack.~Donald Hall

Love Time Day