Donald Hall

March 8, 2011

Tags: Donald Hall

I can't quite find the words to express my outrage that Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post has decided that a suitable way to commemorate the award of the National Medal of Arts to Donald Hall, former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, is by holding Hall up to public ridicule.

At her WaPo blog, Petri has posted a photograph of Hall with President Obama and invited readers to provide a "humorous" caption for it. She describes Hall as "not, in fact, a yeti," presumably because--although he's impeccably dressed--his hair and beard appear a bit windblown.

Hall is eighty-two years old. He is a veteran of World War II. He has survived cancer and the death, in 1995, of his beloved wife Jane Kenyon, herself a poet of rare distinction. He has won innumerable awards for his work, which has enriched the lives of millions.

Petri says that the winner of the caption contest will be made public this Friday. The only word for anyone who contributes to this shabby farce is "loser".

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