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White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  332 ratings  ·  23 reviews
White Apples and the Taste of Stone is the definitive lifetime work of an American master -- with a bound-in audio CD of selections read by the author.

One of the most significant poets of his generation, Donald Hall has garnered numerous accolades and honors, including the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angel
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 3rd 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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4.17  · 
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 ·  332 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Keith Taylor
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It feels odd to find old reviews I wrote of people who are now dead. And odd to think of Hall, a great elegist, dead. This big Selected Poems was later replaced by a much more streamlined Selected, and that was probably rights. Still, I like the sheer size of this book. Here's a thing I wrote about it 10 years ago:
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orgasmic
A great and generous collection of Hall's work, and boy did he get the work done. 'Names of Horses' has always been one of my favourite poems, though I couldn't really tell you why, other than it is perfectly compassionate. Earthy, humble, autumnal, and charmingly, nostalgically American. I have to say, I went 3 months before I could face the poems about Hall's wife Jane Kenyon's Leukemia. I'd start them, then have to go read something else, something less real. They are beautiful though, and fr ...more
Mark Bruce
Jul 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: poets
Donald Hall is one of those poets whom poets know but non-poets have and will never hear of. Some of the things he has written can tear right through you--the poems about his family experiences, especially. But he often gets bogged down in the Academic shuffle--the guys who like to write long winded poems which mean little or anything beyond some arcane event the poet doesn't bother to explain.

Still, Hall is a craftsman, and a good one. If you are a poet, you need to read through this book to ge
Harper Curtis
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great poet. Great collection. Here's one of my favorites, "Deathwork":

You can hear Donald Hall read "Deathwork" here ("Deathwork" starts about 4 minutes and 40 seconds into the recording):
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I won't reread the entire collection, I'll return to these:

My Son My Executioner
O Cheese
Names of Horses
Merle Bascom's .22
Edward's Anecdote
The One Day: A Poem in Three Parts (1988)
The Night of the Day
The Museum of Clear Ideas (1993)
The Old Life (1996)
Steven Withrow
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lingered over this one and listened to the CD of Donald Hall reading his poems. So much beauty here. "Names of Horses" and "Great Day in the Cow's House" are two of my all-time favorites -- remind me of why I write poems.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
As part of my ongoing memorial to Donald Hall, the poet laureate who died recently at the age of 89, I read this collection selected from poems he wrote from 1946 to 2006.

Most of Hall's work is autobiographical, and I don't tire reading of his childhood memories, memories of growing up in Connecticut, summers on his grandparents' farm in New Hampshire, his early working life, his life with poet Jane Kenyon, and life after her death. Sometimes he gets just a bit cynical, and I don't like that as
Brian Wasserman
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
The Great Rambler Donald Hall...

The jacket of book claims that he has achieved aching eloquence, but perhaps more for a lack thereof than any real command of eloquence. Its is shocking that one man has made a whole career of making unpolished poetry, many of his poems suffer from having untidy form. He is like Louise Gluck in a sense he is too wrapped in the pretense of wanting to be great, but like many American poets he has no perspective about the discipline of Poetry. His chief accomplishmen
Tom Hill
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 5-stars
"Distressed Haiku"

In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.

I’m coming! Don’t move!

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

Will Hall ever write
lines that do anything
but whine and complain?

The mouse rips
the throat of the lion.
The Boston Red Sox win
a hundred straight games

and the dead return.

-Donald Hall
Terry Simmons-albertson
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great compendium of his poetry. Very diverse in subject matter and styles. Recommended for lovers of poetry.
Jan 01, 2012 added it
Shelves: poetry
Not having read Donald Hall before, I am unsure of how I feel about these selected poems.

So far I like best the poems that comment on the form ('Sestina') and those that are ironic or satirical ('Woolworth's' and 'Crewcuts', the latter with its dim view of the men who sport the hairstyle).

In this volume the poems are not dated or organized by collection. I found myself wanting to know the context in which they were written and to which the poet was responding/reacting.
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Currently reading bits and pieces during National Poetry Month 2009.

My thoughts so far:

1. Like his work a lot;
2. Find him incredibly depressing

# # # Update, 10/13/09:

I'm never going to "finish" this in the traditional sense. Who sits down and reads a poetry volume of this size from front to back without a break?

Good stuff. Will keep going back to it. I'm trying to read a poem a day...
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I read about half of this collection (about 200 pages) and came to truly appreciate Donald Hall's poetry. I wrote several poems while I was reading this that were directly inspired by Hall's work. Unfortunately, I just don't have time to continue with this book for now. I hope to someday return to this poetry.
Jul 02, 2008 marked it as to-read
I was lucky enough to have this wonderful man come to my elementary school each year to read us classic poetry as well as some of his own wonderous pieces. Little did we know then how famous he would become.

He has the BEST reading voice. Listen to some of his readings if you EVER get a change.
I'll never forget him reading Casey at the Bat or The Raven. Gives me chills still.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donald Hall is frequently called a poet in the tradition of Frost, and that's probably one of the reasons I appreciate his work so much. His writing is straightforward yet moving, and his voice is sincere and very American. I'm not a huge poetry reader, but I love this book.
Oct 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
An excellent set compilation of poems from our greatest living poet. The book comes with a CD of Donald Hall reading some of his poems, which is great. Affirmation, The Wish, and Dread are particular favorites.
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A vast collection from an essential (American) poet. "The Ox-Cart Man" still stands as one of the most perfectly constructed, enjoyable poems in my mind, my old heart.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Sort of does the job. What's the job?
Aug 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: othertastic
What can I say? Donald Hall was a poet laureate of the US, for a reason. He's a keeper. Actually made me cry. There's a great podcast of a poetry reading by him as well, if you can get it.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Whimsical one moment and then devastating the next but enjoyable every single one. A must for poets.
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like Donald Hall and this collection is pretty good, although I think it could have been given a more appealing design.
Dayna Lorentz
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy, do I love his poems!
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, sad, tribute to an America lost, to life passing, to the inevitability of change. Donald Hall was U.S. Poet Lauriette (sp?) in .. 2007 I think.
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Donald Hall was an American poet, writer, editor and literary critic. He began writing as an adolescent and attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at the age of sixteen—the same year he had his first work published. Donald Hall published numerous books of poetry. Besides poetry, Donald Hall wrote books on baseball, the sculptor Henry Moore, and the poet Marianne Moore. He was also the author ...more