Faculty News

"The Poetry of Death"

The New Yorker online featured a piece by award-winning poet Donald Hall, MFA Writer-in-Residence, called "The Poetry of Death."

In the essay, Hall meditates on the historic conjunction of poetry and death, in both subject and in form. "Poetry begins with elegy" Hall writes, "in extremity, as Gilgamesh laments the death of his companion Enkidu, watching worms crawl out of Enkidu’s neck. Homer sings of heroes as they die in battle, and Priam weeps to see the body of his son Hector dragged around the walls of Troy."

He writes of his own poetry's connection with mortality, and recalls that his first poem, at the age of twelve, was titled "The End of All." 

Hall is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, (as well as numerous essays, short stories, memoirs, and works for children) including one dedicated to the subject of the death of his wife, Jane Kenyon, who passed away in 1995 from leukemia. 

The essay will be part of Hall's latest book, slated to be released in July of 2018, called A Carnival of Losses, Notes Nearing Ninety.