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First winter in New Hampshire and writing a book about Dock Ellis


Donald Hall Poet
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She called me Perkins when... oh, one time when we were first in New Hampshire, we were driving around in Maine and we went to a little town called Perkins Cove, and Jane was amused at the dominance of the name Perkins in the town. She used to say, 'Oh it was Perkins Drug Store and Perkins Avenue, and Dr Perkins,' and so on.  And she said, 'This Perkins must have been quite a guy', and she started calling me Perkins. It's not much of a story, but I think that... you know my students - when she was my student - didn't call me Professor Hall, it... it was 1969, and we didn't do that. I was Don. I'd told about the entry in her journal about Donald Hall before we really knew each other, but even Don was the teacher's name, I think, and, so it became sort of comfortable for her to have this pet name for me. She always called me Perkins whenever she was teasing me, or... but also in affectionate moments too, she would say, when I got extravagant she'd say, 'Perkins, dim your lights!', or, 'Somebody cover Perkins' cage', and so on. And... it was lovely. And I tried... I tried to have an equivalent name, but whatever I tried never stuck really, and she was Jane, or Janey, always.

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: Perkins Cove, New Hampshire, Maine, Jane Kenyon

Duration: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008