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Estate Sale at Former Home of Poet Donald Hall Draws a Crowd

Britta Greene
New Hampshire Public Radio
The first people in line at Donald Hall's estate sale in Wilmot waited about fifteen hours overnight to get in the door.

An estate sale at the home of the late poet Donald Hall this weekend drew hundreds to Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Hall is a former poet laureate of the United States. He's known for his plainspoken work depicting rural life. He died last June.

By 9 a.m. Saturday, when the doors of his historic white farmhouse were set to open, the first person in line had been waiting 15 hours, through the night, to get in.

Listen to people in line Saturday recite “The Things” by Donald Hall, a poem about possessions left behind.

Hall shared his home for many years with his wife Jane Kenyon, also a renowned poet, who died in 1995.

Many in line Saturday were fans of Hall and Kenyon’s work, or had personal connections to the family.

Others, though, had no idea who the poets were – they were there for the goods.

Inside, the house was still packed to the gills with books, artwork, trinkets and odds and ends.

An old wooden ox cart, reminiscent of Hall’s famous book “Ox Cart Man” was priced at $1,500.

Watching these possessions—many in a state of neglect or disrepair—be picked over was difficult for some in the crowd. “With all the history of this, to have it look like it looks is tragic," said Jack Kirk, who said he was Hall’s personal physician for many years.

Many of Hall’s more valuable possessions sold at auction earlier last week.

Voices reading Hall’s “The Things” include Liz Kirby, Lynn Beach, Carolyn Demers, Kimberly, Tara McGee, Tom Morgan, Jack Kirk, and Mandy Tirrell.

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