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Without (Donald Hall)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I don’t read much poetry… but what poetry I do read tends to be by Donald Hall and a handful of others. This is without a doubt my favorite single work by Hall, though it is lean, sparse, and an emotional roller coaster.  Scratch that, roller coasters have ups and downs, this is a more of an emotional spiral into all of the edges and dimensions of love, death, and grief at its rawest. It is one of my favorite all time collections.

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The Painted Bed (Donald Hall)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a relatively short collection by a poetry master. Though I don’t often read poetry, when I do pick up a collection, it almost always has Donald Hall’s name on it. This is not my favorite by him, but it’s very, very well-written. Detailing the years directly after his wife, Jane, passed away, this is his second collection dealing with the emotional desolation of losing his mate. I prefer Without, and feel like this is almost its ugly stepsister… but still, if I hadn’t been comparing it to Without, I’m sure I would have rated it (even more) highly.

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White Apples and the Taste of Stone (Donald Hall)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I don’t like poetry. I try to avoid reading poems because usually, I have the same reaction reading poems as I do when staring at abstract art: huh?  But this is a selection of poems from 60 years of writings.  They are intensely emotional, sparsely written, beautiful poems from the former poet laureate, and well worth the read.
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