An excerpt of the essay is below, as well as a link to the entire piece, which was published on the Ploughshares blog. Enjoy.
An Excerpt from My Essay "Learning the Taste of Stone":
Donald Hall is a thing of beauty. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak–seeing him speak–twice at Bennington. The second was in June 2009–six weeks after my first child was born, a week after attending my beloved mother-in-law, Anna’s, memorial service, and days after leaving my family in North Carolina to settle in Vermont with my husband in the house where he grew up.
Donald Hall was wearing a rumpled tie-dyed t-shirt and trousers. His hair was long and his beard curled over, and at times into, his mouth, giving him the otherworldly look of Confederate veterans I’d seen in vintage photographs, or an elderly Walt Whitman. His lips made oblong shapes when he spoke about prosody. His voice moved between a whisper, a growl, and a specter-like song, pausing at invisible line breaks. His casual posture gave you the feeling he was in the mood to be recklessly, charmingly honest about meter, Robert Frost, and baseball.
You want to know what really turns me on? Hall said. Assonance. Assonance turns me on.
It was the first time I’d laughed in weeks, in a time when I’d forgotten I was capable of laughing. I was still fat and achy, a post-partum mess of grief and haywire hormones. I was attending my graduate residency at Bennington College, but painfully aware of the grieving family, unpacked boxes and colicky infant that waited for me back home, a few miles down the road.Read the entire essay at Ploughshares.