KICKING THE LEAVES by Donald Hall

KICKING THE LEAVES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A relentless passion courses through the pages of Donald Hall's latest book--a passion which is rarely articulated effectively due to Hall's overall laxity and carelessness with language. A brilliant idea is often submerged in a froth of uninteresting detail and asides, as in ""Eating the Pig"": "". . . I am drawn to him, my brother the pig,/ with his large ears cocked forward,/ with his fight snout, with his small ferocious teeth/ in a jaw propped open/ by an apple. How bizarre, this raw apple clenched/ in a cooked face! . . ."" Simile is used here when the imagination fails, leading a poem astray from its primary intention, as in ""Traffic"": ""[Trucks and station wagons drive] . . . past this empty brick building covered/ with ivy like a Mayan Temple,/ like a pyramid grown over with jungle vines. . . ."" Hall is at his best in poems whose subject is specific and personal: ""The Black Faced Sheep"" traces his family's history on a New Hampshire farm through the unlikely vehicle of an animal's gradual disappearance from the region. In this, his seventh book, Hall has finally begun to harness the energy which caused him to lose control in the past, but he still has a long way to go.

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row