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Farm of former poet laureate Donald Hall to become home of writer’s residency program 

  • Donald Hall, shown here at his Wilmot, N.H., home in 2006, decided to become a poet when he was 14. He died Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 89. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Donald Hall sits in his blue chair in his living room surrounded by his books, magazines and newspapers.

Concord Monitor
Published: 8/10/2019 9:15:58 PM
Modified: 8/10/2019 9:15:55 PM

WILMOT, N.H. — The new owners of former poet laureate Donald Hall’s family home in Wilmot plan to turn it into the site of a nonprofit writing residency program.

“It will serve as a reminder, not only of Don and Jane’s work but also of the place of poetry and writing in our lives,” said Mary Lyn Ray, a children’s book author and friend of Hall and his wife, fellow poet Jane Kenyon.

Hall died in June 2018 at age 89; Kenyon died of leukemia in 1995.

Their house, Eagle Pond Farm, at 24 Route 4, was sold to Kensington preservationists Frank Whittemore and Lynne Monroe for $395,000 in May. Ray, Whittemore and Monroe have been working together with other friends and admirers of the writers to find a new purpose for the building that would honor its legacy.

Whittemore and Monroe bought the home, along with many other Hall and Kenyon artifacts, without a solid plan for what it would become, other than a monument to honor the writer’s legacy. The house came on the market quickly and they wanted to make sure it fell into the right hands.

Ray said the group has been working closely with the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance to obtain a historic preservation easement, or a legal agreement that permanently protects a significant historic property from substantial changes, for Eagle Pond Farm. The group is also working to apply for nonprofit status and for Eagle Pond Farm to become a national historic landmark.

The group is not yet sure what the qualifications will be to apply for the writer’s residency or when it will be open. The home also likely will be open a few times a year for tours with the public, Ray said.

The group is in the process of returning artifacts to the home now. Many of Hall’s and Kenyon’s belongings were sold in an auction this spring and taken out of the house.

Ray said she and other preservationists were able to purchase Hall’s blue writing chair, along with two leather satchels Hall used to carry his writing. Additionally, they purchased Hall’s Glenwood kitchen and parlor stove and painted bed — items that appeared in his poetry, as well as many other belongings of significance.

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