The 14th US Poet Laureate Donald Hall, who was born in 1928, was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, then earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1951 and a BLitt, from Oxford in 1953. He has published many essays and anthologies of both poetry and prose including "String too Short to be Saved: Recollections of Summers on a New England Farm", "White Apples and the Taste of Stone", "Without: Poems", and "Ox-Cart Man", a children's book which won the Caldecott Medal. Hall was editor of the magazine "Oxford Poetry", literary editor of "Isis", editor of "New Poems", and poetry editor of "The Paris Review". He has won many awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and a Robert Frost Medal. At the end of his first Oxford year, he also won the university's Newdigate Prize, awarded for his poem "Exile".
When Without came out, there was a great deal of attention. I did a book tour, I was on a lot of radio programs and I did eight media events in Portland one day. There was a lot of response to it, and the book sold very well. I always knew that some people would be offended by it, because of its nakedness. In my work as a writer from, you know, 50 years, I have gradually become more naked, and by this time, at the time of Without, I simply would... would say anything I felt appropriate... I wasn't worried about other people's... I wasn't worried about people being scandalised. And I said some things in Without that were very personal about Jane, as well as about me, and I knew some people would be outraged and some people were. No one actually said so in a book review... it would have felt too mean probably, but I got feedback from various people, and I don't care... I say, 'Go ahead and feel that way... do it'. I'm going to do it as I see it, as I want it, and I will be as naked as I choose.
Kendel Currier started working for Donald Hall in August of 1994 as his correspondence typist. Later she took on his manuscript typing as well, and in October of 1998 moved 100 meters down the road from Donald and became his personal assistant, adding many various new tasks to her work. As well as working for Donald for the last 10 and-a-half years, Donald Hall and Kendel Currier share a set of great (or for Kendel great-great) grandparents, making them distant cousins and part of a similar New Hampshire heritage.