Donald Hall Essays After Eighty

ISBN 13: 9780544287044

Essays After Eighty

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9780544287044: Essays After Eighty
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From a former Poet Laureate, a new collection of essays delivering a gloriously unexpected view from the vantage point of very old age Donald Hall has lived a remarkable life of letters, a career capped by a National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president. Now, in the "unknown, unanticipated galaxy" of very old age, he is writing searching essays that startle, move, and delight. In the transgressive and horrifyingly funny "No Smoking," he looks back over his lifetime, and several of his ancestors' lifetimes, of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, packs of them every day. Hall paints his past: "Decades followed each other -- 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 . . ." And, poignantly, often joyfully, he limns 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."

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Review:

"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

From the Back Cover:

From Essays After Eighty:

My trainer, Pamela Sanborn, works me out Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. She s tiny and strong, four foot ten and a hundred pounds of muscle. If she had to, I m sure she could carry my two hundred pounds slung over her shoulders. For half an hour each session she has me do cardio on the treadmill, squat with five-pound weights, lift tenners over my head and out from my sides, stretch muscles, stand up no hands with a beach ball between my knees, and do push-ups (as it were) standing against a wall. Exercise hurts, as well it might, since by choice and for my pleasure I didn t do it for eighty years. (Once in my fifties I walked four miles.) Pam is cute, and loves to work out. When her marriage ended, she found a new companion on an Internet site called Fitness Singles. At the moment, the two of them are bicycling through Italy.
When I divorced, I looked for women who lazed around after poetry readings.
"

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9780544570313: Essays After Eighty

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ISBN 10:  0544570316 ISBN 13:  9780544570313
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 2016
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