OSU Libraries | OSU Home

The Collected Poems of Hazel Hall

John Witte

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

2020. ISBN 978-0-87071-996-7. Paperback, $19.95.

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

ISBN 978-0-87071-997-4. e-book, $11.99.

On the 100th anniversary of her debut poetry collection, Curtains, first published in 1920, Hazel Hall’s reputation as a major Oregon poet endures. During her short career, she 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 1920s, are reissued here in paperback 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 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. In his updated introduction to this volume, John Witte examines Hall’s brief and brilliant career and highlights her remarkably modern sensibilities. In a new afterword, Anita Helle considers Hall’s work in an era when modes of literary historical recovery have been widened and expanded—and what that means in the afterlife of Hazel Hall.
Member of AAUP