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Publishing 'that' book


Publishing String Too Short to be Saved
Donald Hall Poet
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After that first year in Thaxted which was such a full year, I came back with the manuscript of String Too Short to be Saved - all finished - and I sent it into The Viking Press, and they took it, with some enthusiasm.  But it... it's a small book - it seemed huge at the time, my first prose book - and well, limited subject... a boy spends summers on the farm with his grandfather.  When I began writing it, I sent the first chapter to The New Yorker - they did a lot of reminiscence at that time... memoir - and they sent it back with a nice letter.  And I think I sent them a second chapter, same thing, I tried a third chapter some place - got rejected.  So I decided, OK, it's not periodical stuff, I'll just make it a book. I came back with the book, and Viking took it, and scheduled it, and made a bound galley, sent it around, and one of the people they sent it to was EB White, in Maine.  He was no longer active with The New Yorker but he was very connected with it, and he loved it.

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: String Too Short to be Saved, Thaxted, The Viking Press, The New Yorker, Maine, EB White

Duration: 1 minute, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008