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Poetry readings: The Day I Was Older - The Clock and The News


Introduction to The Day I Was Older
Donald Hall Poet
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The Day I Was Older is a poem I wrote when I became as old as my father was when my father died. It began, oh, the summer before... he was 52 years and two weeks... and it began the summer before my 52nd birthday, and I didn't know I was doing it. I began to write a series of poems, each of which had a kind of strain of morbidity to it which was not quite my usual morbidity, and I realized finally that all of these poems were coming because of my anticipation of being the age my father was when he died. For people whose parent of the same sex has died relatively early, there's always a spooky thing as you approach that time. It may seem as if it... it may seem as if it's impious to live longer than your parent or that you're bound to die yourself. At any rate I came out with the poem in five small parts, with separate titles that connect ultimately, I believe. The poem is The Day I Was Older. The first section is called The Clock.

The 14th US Poet Laureate Donald Hall (1928-2018) was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, then earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1951 and a BLitt, from Oxford in 1953. He 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 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.

Listeners: Kendel Currier

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.

Tags: The Day I Was Older, The Clock

Duration: 1 minute, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008