Publication date: June 23, 2019, the one-year anniversary of Donald Hall’s passing.
Editor Cynthia Brackett-Vincent.
Introductory tribute by Wesley McNair, former Poet Laureate of Maine.
Cover photo of Hall by Steven Ratiner.
10% of proceeds to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to honor Hall’s wife Jane Kenyon.
Sherry Barker Abaldo, Mary Anker, L.R. Berger, Edward Bruce Bynum, David Cappella, Jenny Doughty, Max Roland Ekstrom, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Elizabeth Brule’ Farrell, Monica Flegg, James Fowler, David Giannini, Patricia Gomes, Kathleen McKinley Harris, Scott T. Hutchison, Elizabeth Knies, Tricia Knoll, Katherine Leigh, Jim Mello, Mark Melnicove, Andrew Periale, Dawn Potter, Kyle Potvin, Jessica Purdy, Gary Rainford, Steven Ratiner, Dave Read, Russell Rowland, Clemens Carl Schoenebeck, John Surowiecki, Wally Swist, Jeri Theriault, Irene Willis, Warren Woessner, Jane Yolen.
Cynthia Brackett Vincent writes in her preface to Except for Love, a tribute to the late, acclaimed poet Donald Hall, that Hall had an undying love for so many things, among them, Jane Kenyon, baseball, and New Hampshire (with all its warts and beauty). She speaks of his amorous reverence for the past, present, and the future, or, as Longfellow wrote in his poem, “A Psalm of Life”: “Still achieving, still pursuing,/Learn to labor and to wait.” As we all know, love is infectious, and Hall’s poetry and persona have touched so many poets and readers alike. Through their poetry, the contributors to this stunning anthology show their love for the poet and the man.
Hall gives gravitas to the most arcane rituals of the everyday, and so do the poets here. L.R. Berger writes in the poem, “First Acts”: “Filling the teapot at the tap,/turning on the burner—//praise be for the first acts/requiring no imagination,/no choices of consequence.//You can be half asleep/and already a success at life,//draw encouragement/mastering the rituals of morning—.” I think Berger has raised my first pot of morning coffee to the high holy!
The poems in this collection celebrate the primal, the unaffected beauty of the world. They celebrate nature, and all the poems bloom like a flower, enriched by metaphor. The poems have so much to say and with originality. You will learn to say, “I love you like an apple,” the title of one poem here by Jenny Doughty. On these pages, a rose can be a totem for where you have been and where you are now.
The sensibility of Hall is deeply embedded in this collection, and continues the tradition of highly-crafted work for which Encircle Publications is known.
—Doug Holder/Founder, Ibbetson Street Press/Lecturer in Creative Writing, Endicott College