Without : poems

by Donald Hall

Hardcover, 1998





Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998.


The dying of a beloved wife and fellow poet makes for a bleak and lonely tale. But Donald Hall's poignant and courageous poetry, facing that dread fact, involves us all: the magnificent, humorous, and gifted woman, Jane Kenyon, who suffered and died; the doctors and nurses who tried but failed to save her; the neighbors, friends, and relatives who grieved for her; the husband who sat by her while she lived and afterward sat in their house alone with his pain, self-pity, and fury; and those of us who until now had nothing to do with it.

User reviews

LibraryThing member katiekrug
Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon, both well-known poets, had a long and happy marriage despite a substantial age difference, his multiple bouts with cancer and her clinical depression. Then, she was diagnosed with leukemia, endured a long treatment and eventually died in 1995. These poems chronicle the time of her illness and the period after her death, and are incredibly moving. This book was published on the third anniversary of Kenyon’s death and lays bare Hall’s pain, both at what she endured and at her eventual death. It is a beautiful, 80-page volume of naked grief and lonely mourning.… (more)
LibraryThing member abirdman
Hall's first book of poetry after the passing away of his wife, Jane Kenyon, and hence the title, "Without," is a brave, honest, intensely sad volume which finds a way through grief to a sort of peace.
LibraryThing member teeps29
95 percent of my reading is science fiction, with a little history and popular science sprinkled in. My wife's the poet in the family. She handed me this book one day, I opened it to the first page, and I didn't stop reading until I had finished it. Very powerful. I suspect the closeness of our relationship had something to do with the book's impact on me, but who knows -- great writing is great writing. I had to get my own copy.… (more)
LibraryThing member unclebob53703
Poems on the death of his wife; nearly unbearble
LibraryThing member jphamilton
I have been thinking about this book of painful poetry for months now. The collection is about Donald Hall's wife of many years, the poet Jane Kenyon, suffering from, and finally dying from cancer. The poems start during her illness, through her death, and continue on with Hall's agony as he is left without his other half and soul mate. The pain and loneliness reflect much my own life now. This poetry is extremely intense to read and reread, but it helps me know that I'm not the only one to go through losing someone so close too me, that not only is my heart just broken, it's missing many parts. I am incomplete without Vicky.
Somewhere in the seemingly countless boxes of books I have in a storage unit, is a copy that I read many years ago. When a poet friend of mine mentioned this wonderful book during a conversation about Hall, I knew I couldn't wait any longer, I ordered the book. When I read it the first time, it tore me up with its intensity. This time it was much more personal and searingly brutal. I am off to find a quiet place under a tree where I can read and feel it all over again. In the back of my head, I can hear Vicky talking about what a masochist I am. It was something I never denied.
… (more)



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