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Jane Kenyon's poetry and doing readings with her


Jane Kenyon's depression
Donald Hall Poet
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Jane was frequently depressive.  She was bipolar but infrequently manic. When she was, it was like being married to someone else. She was more... she was... tended to be on the depressive side. She... this was not diagnosed or anything for a long time, but I can't remember when it was... it was in the '80s and she began to take pills and... and some of the medications helped a lot and some did not.  And I... I think that... I was energetic and more positive and I think I probably got some sense of... oh being in control or being in charge of something by her being depressed and me being, kind of, hypermanic. At any rate we.. we both understood, and it was never a quarrel. There were several times... twice she got doctors to tell me that, yes, she was depressed but it was not my fault, and... and she was not mad at me, and she loved me, and... I knew it anyway, but she was afraid that I wouldn't. There were times when she was so depressed that I couldn't touch her - literally - I mean I couldn't rub her back or touch her hair, anything like that.  She didn't want to scream, but there were many times when she was only mildly depressed when making love cured her for a while, and I wrote somewhere or other that, you know, we made love whether we liked it or not, it helped and... we liked it anyway.

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: Jane Kenyon

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008