Donald Hall, Poet Laureate

[Amazon Link]

New Hampshire's own Donald Hall will be assuming Poet Laureate duties for the US come fall. I'm not even a minor poetry reader, but back when the Salad Kids were tiny, his book Ox-Cart Man (illustrated by Barbara Cooney) was a favorite both for them and for me. If you don't know it, it's a short tale of a New Hampshire farmer taking his ox cart, loaded with produce from the year, from his farm to Portsmouth. Once in Portsmouth, he sells everything, including the cart and the ox. (And kisses the ox good-bye on his nose.) Then he returns to his farm, and it starts all over again.

He packed a bag of wool
he sheared from the sheep in April.

He packed a shawl his wife wove on a loom
from yarn spun at the spinning wheel
from sheep sheared in April.

He packed five pairs of mittens
his daughter knit
from yarn spun at the spinning wheel
from sheep sheared in April.

Even now, when we pass by sheep in the field, it's a contest between Mrs. Salad and me to see who'll say "sheep sheared in April" first.

The book is based on Hall's original poem "Ox Cart Man"; you can see nineteen drafts and three published versions of that poem from UNH's Milne Collection right here. (2018-06-25 UPDATE: defunct link fixed, but the linked page now has mostly broken images. RIP, Mr. Hall.)

Congratulations (and thanks) to Donald Hall.

Last Modified 2022-10-04 7:43 AM EDT