What a privilege to be able to talk to Donald Hall last month. It felt like having talking to him over a glass of wine, maybe some cheese and olives. The former poet laureate is now 87, says he can no longer write poetry -- and so instead, is writing essays, made into this book, "Essays After Eighty."
Here's a more complete transcript of one of our exchanges about writing, which didn't make it into today's interview in The Washington Post.
It sounds like you take as much care with each sentence and word in these essays as you did with your poetry.
DH: Yes. There was one poem -- only one -- where I went to 400 drafts –
CB: 400 drafts!
CB: So which poem took 400 drafts?
DH: That was a poem I probably thought was good but now I don’t like so much. “Another Elegy.” It was more about the death of my friend, James Wright.