A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety

A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety Review

“Hall lived long enough to leave behind two final books, memento mori titled ‘Essays After Eighty’ (2014) and now ‘A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety.’ They’re up there with the best things he did.” —Dwight Garner,  New York Times

From the former poet laureate of the United States, essays from the vantage point of very old age

Donald Hall lived a remarkable life of letters, one capped most recently by the New York Times bestseller Essays After Eighty, a “treasure” of a book in which he “balance[s] frankness about losses with humor and gratitude” (Washington Post). Before his passing in 2018, nearing ninety, Hall delivered this new collection of self-knowing, fierce, and funny essays on aging, the pleasures of solitude, and the sometimes astonishing freedoms arising from both. He intersperses memories of exuberant days—as in Paris, 1951, with a French girl memorably inclined to say, “I couldn’t care less”—with writing, visceral and hilarious, on what he has called the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of extreme old age.  

“Why should a nonagenarian hold anything back?” Hall answers his own question by revealing several vivid instances of “the worst thing I ever did," and through equally uncensored tales of  literary friendships spanning decades, with James Wright, Richard Wilbur, Seamus Heaney, and other luminaries. 

Cementing his place alongside Roger Angell and Joan Didion as a generous and profound chronicler of loss, Hall returns to the death of his beloved wife, Jane Kenyon, in an essay as original and searing as anything he's written in his extraordinary literary lifetime.

Title:A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Pamela

    My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. I expected more reflection on the process and peculiarities of aging. I expected less (or no) opinions of other poets, nor the ...

  • Gerri

    Until I saw a write up about this book in my local newspaper, I had no idea who Donald Hall was. The synopsis of the book was so intriguing that I had to read it and I’m so glad I did!!!! One of the...

  • Bookish

    This is beloved poet Donald Hall’s moving memoir A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety. Hall’s late wife, Jane Kenyon, is one of my favorite contemporary poets, so I have a soft spot for Hall...

  • Sue

    It dismays me that I had to learn of this book only through the obituary for Donald Hall, poet, editor, anthologizer, Poet Laureate. This final collection of essays and reminiscences was ready for rel...

  • Ellyn Lem

    I bet if someone is an ardent fan of Donald Hall's poetry, that person would revel in this latest collection of essays written in his late 80s. The novelist Ann Patchett is one such fan and has hearti...

  • Rick

    Hall passed away as this book was being published so we have lost our Virgil of longevity. What you need to let go of, what you need to cling to, how you can find meaning and value in a world that sti...

  • Rhonda Lomazow

    Donald Hall wrote so openly and honestly of aging.He held nothing back the fact that the older he got the more naps he needed remembering his younger years.When he talks about Jane Kenyon his love a y...

  • TL

    I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. Ally my opinions are my own.---Hits and misses... he writes well, but most of it wasn't very engaging for me. I'm in the minor...

  • Eric

    I did not know who Donald Hall was before I read this. I read a review of this somewhere. It wasn't as depressing as it sounds. A lot of it was pretty funny actually. Donald Hall was the poet laureate...

  • Brian

    *****...