Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ice cream and beets with Donald Hall at Bennington

I was lucky and squirrelled myself next to Donald Hall during dinner. I leaned in close as he told me about Raymond Carver, Gertrude Stein, Hart Crane, Liam Rector and Wendall Berry. I listened as he told me that he couldn't be away from Jane Kenyon when she was dying, so he left Bennington early that year. I had a hard time hearing him over the roar of utensils in the dining room. He ate beets and chicken. He laughed at my weird joke about maple ice cream and peppermint stick ice cream --which i nervously blurted out to fill the space between stories. It was the only thing I could give a man who writes like awkward aside about ice cream flavors. Some of my favorite quotes from that meal and his lecture...
-"Old age is a series of diminishments"
-"executed by the injection of 100 martinis"
-(of poetry read aloud) "Poetry is oral sex, a pleasure of the mouth"
- (of his writing relationship with Jane Kenyon) " We worked hard to be uncompetitive, which in itself is competitive"
-"One is never sure if they are any good or not"
Well life, it has been weird and delicious.

check please.

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