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The Collected Poems of Hazel Hall

John Witte

5 1/2 × 8 1/2 inches. Notes. Bibliography. Index. 256 pages.

2000. ISBN 978-0-87071-478-8. Hardcover, $22.95.

After a half-century of neglect, Hazel Hall's poetry has in recent years attracted a new generation of grateful readers. During the short span of her career, Hall became one of the West's outstanding literary figures, a poet whose fierce, crystalline verse was frequently compared with that of Emily Dickinson. Her three books, published to critical acclaim in the 1920's, are collected here for the first time. Together, they reintroduce an immediate and intensely honest voice, one that speaks to us with an edgy modernity.

Confined to a wheelchair since childhood, Hall viewed life from the window of an upper room in her family's house in Portland, Oregon. To better observe passersby on the sidewalk, she positioned a small mirror on her windowsill. Hall was an accomplished seamstress: her fine needlework helped to support the family and provided a vivid body of imagery for her precisely crafted, often gorgeously embellished poems.

Hall's writings—her mirror trained on the world—convey the dark undertones of the lives of working women in the early twentieth century, while bringing into focus her own private, reclusive life—her limited mobility, her isolation and loneliness, her gifts with needlework and words, and her exquisite grief. In his introduction to this volume, John Witte examines Hall's brief and brilliant career and highlights her remarkably modern sensibilities, showing her to be a poet for all time.

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