Article updated June 24, 2019 by Dave Conlin Read
Except for Love; New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall, was published on June 23rd, the first anniversary of his death at 89. Included in the anthology is my poem Afterparty.
Mr. Hall was a guest on the 2008 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion at Tanglewood, with Garrison Keillor, which I reviewed here. His January 2012 New Yorker essay Out the Window led to an acquaintance that included a series of visits with him at Eagle Pond Farm and his final reading and poetry talk at the University of New Hampshire in Nov. 2017.
The book is edited by Cynthia Brackett-Vincent, with an Introductory tribute by Wesley McNair, former Poet Laureate of Maine, and cover photo of Hall by Steven Ratiner. 10% of proceeds to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to honor Hall’s wife Jane Kenyon It can be ordered via this link.
We don’t bid our dead Godspeed to the afterlife
the way we did, in churches, where weeping echoes
off walls or gets absorbed by pipe organ blasts,
while incense spirals from an acolyte’s censer,
and the minister intones his woeful sound.
After we lowered our dearly departed into the ground,
back at the church hall there would be baked ham,
casseroles, and pies, supplied by neighbors and aunts.
Today, in function rooms, where event planners
have laid out aromatherapy diffusers and flowers,
we get right on with the afterparty and mingle,
nibbling fruit, veggies, and tiramisu, while a playlist,
synced to a slideshow, loops in the background.