Hermit with Landscape

Daniel Hall, Author, James Merrill, Foreword by Yale University Press $17 (72p) ISBN 978-0-300-04732-5
Like the fading touch-me-nots a friend is here described nurturing, these intricate meditative poems are ``mementos of the time / and pains taken to get things down / before they go . '' Hall's first collection, selected by Merrill for the 1989 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, constellates around timebound gestures of reconciliation and resignation, its line of vision always seeming to refract through the convexities of the hourglass. The craftsmanship is consistently adroit and admirably low-key: Hall knows the virtues of the half-rhyme and the well-tempered stanza. But he can also be fastidious to the point of fussiness, needlessly cryptic and too readily lulled by easy abstractions and souped-up truisms. Dividing their loyalties between the urge to ``travel / light and live, upon arrival / lighter still'' and the impulse to ``find some solace'' in ``small things . . . / familiarities,'' these poems often settle for a safe perch on the fence or in the middle of the road. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Paperback - 72 pages - 978-0-300-04733-2
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