August 31, 2006 Poet Laureate Donald Hall Opens Literary Season with a Reading Oct. 3

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Patricia Gray (202) 707-0362

Donald Hall, the new Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, will open the Library's 2006-07 literary season with a reading at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, sponsored by the Library's Poetry and Literature Center in the Office of Scholarly Programs, is free and open to the public; tickets and reservations are not required.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced Hall's appointment to the laureateship for 2006 on June 14. On choosing Hall, Billington said, "Donald Hall is one of America's most distinctive and respected literary figures. For more than 50 years, he has written beautiful poetry on a wide variety of subjects that are often distinctly American and conveyed with passion."

Hall has published 15 books of poetry, beginning with "Exiles and Marriages" in 1955. Earlier this year, he brought out "White Apples and the Taste of Stone" (Houghton Mifflin), a selection of poems 1946-2006. In 2005 he published "The Best Day The Worst Day," a memoir of his marriage to the poet Jane Kenyon, who died in 1995. Among his children's books, "Ox-Cart Man" won the Caldecott Medal. Among his many books of prose is "Breakfast Served Any Time All Day: Essays on Poetry New and Selected" (2003).

For his poems he has received the Lenore Marshall/Nation Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Ruth Lilly Prizefor Poetry. He has also received two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Hall was born in Connecticut in 1928. He was educated at Harvard, Oxford and Stanford universities and taught at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. For the past 30 years, he has lived on an old family farm in rural New Hampshire, in the house where his grandmother and his mother were born. He has two children and five grandchildren.

The poetry and literature reading series at the Library of Congress is the oldest in the Washington, D.C., area, and among the oldest in the United States. The Poetry and Literature Center administers the series, sponsored since 1951 by a gift from Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who wanted to bring the appreciation of good literature to a larger audience. The center also is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936. For more information, visit


PR 06-163
ISSN 0731-3527