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Without: Poems (1998)

by Donald Hall

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314861,792 (4.35)69
The dying of a beloved wife and fellow poet makes for a bleak and lonely tale. But Donald Hall's poignant and courageous poetry, facing that dread fact, involves us all: the magnificent, humorous, and gifted woman, Jane Kenyon, who suffered and died; the doctors and nurses who tried but failed to save her; the neighbors, friends, and relatives who grieved for her; the husband who sat by her while she lived and afterward sat in their house alone with his pain, self-pity, and fury; and those of us who until now had nothing to do with it.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Remembered happiness is agony;
so is remembered agony.
( )
  drbrand | Jun 8, 2020 |
I have been thinking about this book of painful poetry for months now. The collection is about Donald Hall's wife of many years, the poet Jane Kenyon, suffering from, and finally dying from cancer. The poems start during her illness, through her death, and continue on with Hall's agony as he is left without his other half and soul mate. The pain and loneliness reflect much my own life now. This poetry is extremely intense to read and reread, but it helps me know that I'm not the only one to go through losing someone so close too me, that not only is my heart just broken, it's missing many parts. I am incomplete without Vicky.
Somewhere in the seemingly countless boxes of books I have in a storage unit, is a copy that I read many years ago. When a poet friend of mine mentioned this wonderful book during a conversation about Hall, I knew I couldn't wait any longer, I ordered the book. When I read it the first time, it tore me up with its intensity. This time it was much more personal and searingly brutal. I am off to find a quiet place under a tree where I can read and feel it all over again. In the back of my head, I can hear Vicky talking about what a masochist I am. It was something I never denied. ( )
  jphamilton | Nov 2, 2018 |
This is the best collection of grief poems I have ever read. Donald Hall has always been a highly accessible poet, not esoteric, but down to earth, genuine. His poetry captures love and family and the rural experience better than almost any poet--the only comparison might be to Wendell Berry. These poems concern his wife, Jane Kenyon, a fine poet herself, and her diagnosis and eventual death from cancer. Hall captures his individual experience of struggling with Jane throughout her illness, but one can easily feel him or herself in a similar situation. His poems are a model of giving insight into universal human experience through his own particular experience. For a realistic, moving, and powerful portrait of struggling with a loved one's illness and death, I give this book my highest recommendation. ( )
  mpotts | Sep 20, 2018 |
Poems reflecting on the dying of his wife, all but unbearable ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 25, 2015 |
95 percent of my reading is science fiction, with a little history and popular science sprinkled in. My wife's the poet in the family. She handed me this book one day, I opened it to the first page, and I didn't stop reading until I had finished it. Very powerful. I suspect the closeness of our relationship had something to do with the book's impact on me, but who knows -- great writing is great writing. I had to get my own copy. ( )
  teeps29 | Jul 2, 2013 |
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The dying of a beloved wife and fellow poet makes for a bleak and lonely tale. But Donald Hall's poignant and courageous poetry, facing that dread fact, involves us all: the magnificent, humorous, and gifted woman, Jane Kenyon, who suffered and died; the doctors and nurses who tried but failed to save her; the neighbors, friends, and relatives who grieved for her; the husband who sat by her while she lived and afterward sat in their house alone with his pain, self-pity, and fury; and those of us who until now had nothing to do with it.

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