|Birth Day:||September 20, 1928|
|Birth Place:||Hamden, United States|
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He studied at both Harvard and Oxford. He later taught at the University of Michigan, Bennington College, and Stanford University.
Hall was born in Hamden, Connecticut, the only child of Donald Andrew Hall, a businessman, and Lucy Wells. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, then earned an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1951, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a B.Litt., from Oxford in 1953. Hall received an honorary PhD, Lit. from Bates College in 1991.
After leaving Harvard, Hall went to Oxford for two years, to study for the B.Litt. He was editor of the magazine Oxford Poetry, as literary editor of Isis, as editor of New Poems, and as poetry editor of The Paris Review. At the end of his first Oxford year, Hall also won the university's Newdigate Prize, awarded for his long poem, 'Exile'. In September 1952, he married his first wife, Kirby Thompson, with whom he had his son and daughter.
On returning to the United States, Hall went to Stanford University, where he spent one year as a Creative Writing Fellow, studying under the poet-critic, Yvor Winters. Following his year at Stanford, Hall went back to Harvard, where he spent three years in the Society of Fellows. During that time, he put together his first book, Exiles and Marriages. In 1957, with Robert Pack and Louis Simpson, he edited an anthology which was to make a significant impression on both sides of the Atlantic, New Poets of England and America. It was later juxtaposed with Donald Allen's The New American Poetry 1945–1960. In 1968, he signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
While teaching at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he met the poet Jane Kenyon, whom he married in 1972. Three years later, the couple moved to Eagle Pond Farm, his grandparents' former home in Wilmot, New Hampshire. Hall and Kenyon were profiled at their home in a 1993 PBS documentary, "A Life Together," which aired as an episode of Bill Moyers Journal. In 1989, when Hall was in his early sixties, it was discovered that he had colon cancer. Surgery followed, but by 1992 the cancer had metastasized to his liver. After another operation, and chemotherapy, he went into remission, though he was told that he only had a one-in-three chance of surviving the next five years. Then, early in 1994, it was discovered that Kenyon had leukemia. Her illness, her death fifteen months later, and Hall's struggle to come to terms with these things, were the subject of his 1998 book, Without. Another book of poems dedicated to Kenyon, Painted Bed, is cited by Publishers Weekly as "more controlled, more varied and more powerful, this taut follow-up volume reexamines Hall's grief while exploring the life he has made since. The book's first poem, 'Kill the Day,' stands among the best Hall has ever written. It examines mourning in 16 long-lined stanzas, alternating catalogue with aphorism, understatement with keened lament: 'How many times will he die in his own lifetime?'"
When not working on poems, he turned his hand to reviews, criticism, textbooks, sports journalism, memoirs, biographies, children's stories, and plays. He also devoted a lot of time to editing: between 1983 and 1996 he oversaw publication of more than sixty titles for the University of Michigan Press alone. He was for five years Poet Laureate of his home state, New Hampshire (1984–89), and among the many other honours and awards to have come his way were: the Lamont Poetry Prize for Exiles and Marriages (1955), the Edna St Vincent Millay Award (1956), two Guggenheim Fellowships (1963–64, 1972–73), inclusion on the Horn Book Honour List (1986), the Sarah Josepha Hale Award (1983), the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (1987), the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (1988), the NBCC Award (1989), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry (1989), and the Frost Medal (1990). He was nominated for the National Book Award on three separate occasions (1956, 1979 and 1993). In 1994, he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for his lifetime achievement.
Hall was named the fourteenth U.S. Poet Laureate, succeeding Ted Kooser. He served from October 1, 2006, and was succeeded by Charles Simic the following year. At the time of his appointment, Hall was profiled in episode of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer which aired on October 16, 2006. Hall was awarded the 2010 National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
His last book A Carnival of Losses: Essays Nearing Ninety was published on July 10, 2018.
Hall lived at Eagle Pond Farm in Wilmot, New Hampshire, a small town in Merrimack County. He was married to poet and author Jane Kenyon (1947–1995) for 23 years and lived with her until her death. Hall died on June 23, 2018, at the age of 89 at his home in Wilmot.
Currently, Donald Hall is 94 years, 2 months and 13 days old. Donald Hall will celebrate 95th birthday on a Wednesday 20th of September 2023.
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