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Showing posts from June, 2018

Donald Hall (1928-2018)

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Years ago, I picked up a couple of issues of Poetry magazine that Donald Hall had gotten rid of. I don't remember where. A yard sale or library sale, maybe. A random table in a random shop, a random shelf in a random hallway. I have no idea. I remember, though, that I almost passed them by. But I happened to look at the address label. Donald Hall. Eagle Pond Farm. Danbury, NH. No bookish New Hampshire native would have been able to resist.

If you aren't from New Hampshire, or don't live in New Hampshire, Donald Hall's name may not mean a lot to you — maybe you know he's a poet, maybe you remember a children's book he wrote, maybe you read one of his essays in The New Yorker, maybe you heard him on NPR, maybe, maybe...

But for us New Hampshirites, Donald Hall is poetry. His death at the age of eighty-nine (a few months short of his ninetieth birthday) feels, in a literary sense, as monumental as the day the Old Man of the Mountain fell to rubble.

Writing in Crisis

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I prefer, where truth is important, to write fiction.  —Virginia Woolf, The PargitersPreface
It seems my doctoral dissertation has hit the ProQuest dissertations databases, so now is perhaps a useful time to say a few words about it here. First, the details for finding it, since there doesn't seem to be an openly accessible link: The title is Lessoning Fiction: Modernist Crisis and the Pedagogy of Form, and it is Dissertation/thesis number 10786319 and ProQuest document ID 2056936547. (If you don't have access to any of those databases and would like a copy of the manuscript, feel free to email me and I will send you a PDF.)

Here's the abstract:
Writers committed to Modernist ideas of artistic autonomy may find that commitment challenged during times of socio-political crisis. This dissertation explores three writers who developed a similar literary strategy at such times: they pushed fictionality toward and beyond its limits, but ultimately preserved that fictionality, re…