Memorial for James Baker Hall

Beloved writer, teacher and photographer James Baker Hall died June 25 at his home near Sadieville, Kentucky. Hall, 74, was prolific as both a writer and a visual artist, publishing widely in both arenas. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1957, earned a master of arts at Stanford, and taught at several universities before becoming an English professor at UK in 1973. He served as director of UK’s creative writing program for 25 years and was named Kentucky Poet Laureate in 2001. Among his many awards, Hall received a Stegner Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Prize and an honorable mention in the San Francisco Art Institute Film Festival.

A memorial service will be held July 11 from 4 to 5 p.m. in Lexington’s Gratz Park. If the weather is forbidding, the ceremony will move inside the Carnegie Center. A reception will follow in the Carnegie Center, with food. drink and poetry. Attendees may celebrate Hall’s life by bringing a poem to read.


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  1. I met james at eastern ky writers conference probably 2004 and his critiques and teaching were memorable. His Mother on the Other Side of the World is one of the finest books of poetry I own and I have carried it around ky and points east on my travels. his poems carry a high tone of resonance as I read them aloud in a strong voice, the strongest i can muster and his printed word makes me pause as the printed line takes over any efforts I have to voice these works, such is the strength of his poems.
    I wrote a short story from the eastern ky workshop experience with Jim called “write a letter you can’t send” and that experience changed my life for I did not blow that assignment off but dug in with my finger nails and learned much. respectfully, fred tarr

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