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Rochester, MN Author Publishes "Letters to a Poet"

By: PR Leap
( Life, Language, and Poetry: My Letters to Donald Hall, 2007-2018, a new book by Richard W. Leland, has been released by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.

"Donald Hall remains one of the most published writers of his time. Named Poet Laureate by President George W. Bush, Hall continued to publish both poetry and prose up to the time of his death in 2018. While his last writing focused mainly on prose, Hall will likely be remembered for his undeniable contribution to many different styles and genres of writing. He was well known to many, if not most, of the published poets of his age.

It remains somewhat of a mystery, however, that so renowned and published a writer would perpetuate a correspondence of nearly eleven years with someone he never met and could know nothing about. It never occurred to me that Donald Hall would respond to my initial letter to him. My initial letter to him was chiefly to tell him how much I had admired his poetry, how often I had used his poetry in my teaching, what some of the issues his most recent poetry raised for me-all while wishing him well in his future endeavors. I did not expect any response to what I understood to be a stand-alone letter and could not have imagined then that a correspondence so innocently and routinely begun would continue for eleven years. All of the letters I wrote to Hall in those eleven years are included in this collection.

Most of my professional life has been in academia. I received a PhD. Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1975, the same year I began my tenured teaching at East Stroudsburg University in eastern Pennsylvania.

Throughout my adult life, I have always been a writer, though not one who ever prioritized publishing. I've written poetry, short stories, essays, and full-length plays. However, my search was always for ever greater authenticity in my own writing and ever greater satisfaction in the authenticity other writers were able to achieve. Very few who know me know anything of my life as a writer. I am not sure, looking back, why I persisted and continue to persist in writing, but I do know that writing has been a meaningful act in guiding the integrity of my own life. When I am alone and at my desk, I confront myself; I seek an honesty of thought and emotion difficult to find elsewhere. But what I have discovered is that in attempting to come ever closer to my own individuality of thought and emotion, I paradoxically come closer to thoughts and emotions shared by many. That being the case, there may be a wider interest in how those thoughts and emotions evolved over the eleven years of a correspondence focused primarily on writing and its inter-connection with the challenges of ordinary living. You will need to be the judge of that." - Author Richard W. Leland

Life, Language, and Poetry: My Letters to Donald Hall, 2007-2018 is a 334-page paperback with a retail price of $23.00 (eBook $18.00). The ISBN is 979-8-89127-634-5. It was published by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For members of the press, to request a review copy, visit our virtual pressroom at or to buy the book visit our online bookstore at

Brittany Baker
Dorrance Publishing

You can see the original version and more on PRLeap here:

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