Essays After Eighty (Paperback)
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His entire life, Donald Hall dedicated himself to the written word, putting together a storied career as a poet, essayist, and memoirist. Here, in the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of very old age, his essays startle, move, and delight.
In Essays After Eighty, Hall ruminates on his past: “thirty was terrifying, forty I never noticed because I was drunk, fifty was best with a total change of life, sixty extended the bliss of fifty . . .” He also addresses his present: “When I turned eighty and rubbed testosterone on my chest, my beard roared like a lion and gained four inches.”
Most memorably, Hall writes about his enduring love affair with his ancestral Eagle Pond Farm and with the writing life that sustains him every day: “Yesterday my first nap was at 9:30 a.m., but when I awoke I wrote again.”
“Alluring, inspirational hominess . . . Essays After Eighty is a treasure . . . balancing frankness about losses with humor and gratitude.”—Washington Post
“A fine book of remembering all sorts of things past, Essays After Eighty is to be treasured.”—Boston Globe
DONALD HALL (1928-2018) served as poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president.
"As this book shows, Hall...has not lost his touch. Laconic, witty, and lyrical, Hall is a master stylist, yet he remains refreshingly humble and matter-of-fact ...By exploring the joys and vicissitudes of a long life, this work offers revealing insights into the human condition—and the grit and openness it requires." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "The writing life at age 85...[A] sense of joy infuses these gentle essays. "Old age sits in a chair," writes Hall, "writing a little and diminishing." For the author, writing has been, and continues to be, his passionate revenge against diminishing. " --Kirkus Reviews "Wry, tangy prose...Many readers may find themselves hoping they’ll be this cogent and canny when they’re “after 80.” --Booklist "Deliciously readable...Donald Hall, if abandoned by the muse of poetry, has wrought his prose to a keen autumnal edge."--Wall Street Journal "alternately lyrical and laugh-out-loud funny...seductive frankness and bracing precision."--New York Times Science Times "alluring, inspirational hominess....Essays After Eighty is a treasure...balancing frankness about losses with humor and gratitude."--Washington Post "In this collection of 14 essays, the literary lion chews over his life-in-letters with a deft wit...[Hall] is caustic, funny, wise without being didactic, and even sexy."--Chicago Tribune "instinct with humor and mischievousness...A fine book of remembering all sorts of things past, Essays After Eighty is to be treasured."--Boston Globe "refreshingly direct, efficient, down-to-earth (also earthy), and witty...These deeply human moments enlighten — even comfort the reader — when Donald Hall converts them into engaging and memorable language...Essays After Eighty is lively testimony to his having done the one thing he always wanted to do — write it! — and doing it better than most of us can even dream of doing."--Los Angeles Review of Books "Donald Hall is a master of language, observation and surprise...poignant and blunt...Hall is reliably colorful and eloquent across the board."--Portland Press Herald "The prose of Essays After Eighty is a poet’s prose. Hall is working with sentence and paragraph, not line and stanza, but every word counts. Concrete images propel his sentences, and he is a master of momentum and suspense. The reader sees or tastes a moment and yearns to know what happens next."--Concord Monitor —