Thursday, January 25, 2007

Donald Hall at Rockhurst Jan. 24

The Convocation Hall at Rockhurst University was filled last night and national poet laureate Donald Hall gave a moving reading. His recent work has concerned the death of his wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, and he read these and other selections from his recent selected poems White Apples and the Taste of Stone. He turned the entire reading into a memoir, beginning with selections from his early life and ending with recent visits to Kenyon's gravesite, "Tennis Balls." He paced the reading extremely well, and he told just the right balance of background story to enhance the drama. He amplified text with his quiet yet precise delivery--okay, with a few voices and dramatics, but mostly straightforward. It was memorable. It was healing. It was better than the book, but if you weren't there, the book does include a CD of the poet reading a dozen pieces.