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Returning to poetry


Riding in a hot air balloon
Donald Hall Poet
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Another thing I did that was fun at that time was... was to ride in a hot air balloon and this was... oh there was kind of gaiety in getting married to Jane - this was part of the gaiety - a friend of mine who was a plastic surgeon had his own balloon, and there were balloon rallies in Ann Arbor every now and then, and he had a friend with a two-seater, who... or rather, it was a basket that two people could stand in... and he took me up and we went 28 miles... and Jane was in a convertible with somebody else, and they were racing around underneath trying to keep up with us.  It was... the wind was... oh the wind was 20 some miles an hour, so we went right along as... terrifying cows, and there were farmers coming out and pointing up at us and so on, and we landed, dragging in some farmers field.  And then what you did was give the farmer a $20 bill or a $50 bill to pay for the crop... somebody came and picked you up.  And the plastic surgeon friend of mine who did it was hoping I'd write a poem about it. I never really did. I mentioned it at one point.

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: Ann Arbor, Jane Kenyon

Duration: 1 minute, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008