U.S. Poet Laureate: Donald Hall of New Hampshire

Profile and audio report from the Voice of America on our new poet laureate, Donald Hall, who writes poignantly on the themes of change and loss.

In his poem “Kicking the Leaves” excerpted below, Hall recalls now-vanished New England scenes from his childhood at his grandparents’ home, where he sits now.

Each fall in New Hampshire,

on the farm
where my mother grew up, a girl in the country

my grandfather and grandmother

finished the autumn work,

taking the last vegetables in

from the cold fields,

canning, storing roots

and apples
in the cellar under the kitchen.

Then my grandfather

raked leaves against the house

as the final chore of autumn…”

Hall writes poignantly of other losses too. He has written many poems about his wife, Jane Kenyon, also a poet, who died in 1995, at the age 47. “It’s as if all the original poems of loss were a preparation for this great loss,” he says.