(June 15, 2006) Ė - Yaddo poet Donald Hall has been appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, it was announced Wednesday by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
Mr. Hall will begin his term by serving as the featured speaker at the Library of Congress National Book Festival poetry pavilion on Saturday, September 30, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He also will open the Libraryís annual literary series in October with a reading from his work.
On announcing Mr. Hallís appointment, Mr. Billington said, "Donald Hall is one of Americaís most distinctive and respected literary figures. For more than 50 years, he has written beautiful poetry on a wide variety of subjects that are often distinctly American and conveyed with passion."
The 77-year-old Mr. Hall has published 15 books of poetry, including the recent White Apples and the Taste of Stone, a selection of poems from the years 1946 to 2006. In 2005, he published The Best Day The Worst Day, a poignant memoir of his marriage to poet Jane Kenyon, who died of in 1995 after battling cancer. Among his childrenís books, Ox-Cart Man won the Caldecott Medal, and among his many books of prose are his essays on poetry, Breakfast Served Any Time All Day (2003). He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a five-year term as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, where he has lived for 30 years.
Mr. Hall is the 16th Yaddo poet to serve the Library of Congress as either Consultant in Poetry or Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry (the title changed in 1986). Two Yaddo poets, Howard Nemerov and Stanley Kunitz, held the position twice, and another Yaddo poet, Louise Bogan, was the first woman named to the post. Other Yaddo poets who have served as the nationís Poet Laureate are Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, Richard Eberhart, James Dickey, William Jay Smith, William Stafford, Josephine Jacobsen, William Meredith, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Mona Van Duyn. The Poet Laureate suggests authors to read in the annual poetry and literature reading series at the Library of Congress and helps plan other special literary events.