New Poetry Continues to Arrive at Eagle Pond

Poets make pilgrimages from all over

By Mary Lyn Ray
Donald Hall in his sitting room at Eagle Pond Farm. Photo: Sheila Pallay

Not everything happening at Eagle Pond Farm, home of poets Jane Kenyon and Donald Hall, is apparent in furnishings restored to the house or books returning to bookshelves.

Back in 2019 when the farm was being sold, and a nonprofit was being created to be steward of it, we were committing to more than preserving just the house and barn and land. We were also promising to keep the farm a place where poetry happens, where it’s written and rewritten and read, and where conversation invites a look at why it matters.

The sitting room as it is today. Don’s famous blue chair, artwork, and other items were rescued and preserved after auction by generous donors.  Photo: Mary Lyn Ray

At the time, we were thinking that meant — primarily — residencies for poets, along with readings, workshops, and other events and collaborations. Those would, however, have to wait until the house could be repaired and refreshed (but not changed). And all of that would have to wait for assessing what needed to be done and fundraising to do it.

Those residencies and programs will happen as soon as they can. But we hadn’t expected that in this stage, while we’re finding our way (and funding) toward what’s ahead, poetry — and what goes with it — could bloom now. We were wrong. 

Among visitors coming to pay homage, and to learn from the house and farm how living here informed Jane’s and Don’s lives and work, are a host of poets — some nearby, some faraway. Some have known Don’s and Jane’s poetry for years. Some have only recently found it. Some are long established, some setting forth. 

Hearing what brings these poet visitors, and getting to see what they’re writing (especially poems charged in some way by what they experience at the farm), invigorates us mightily — to borrow a word from Jane — while also confirming the new life we’ve hoped for Eagle Pond.

Georgia Jones-Davis is only one of our recent poet visitors. She grew up in northern New Mexico and Southern California and lives now in Santa Fe. For more than 20 years, she was a literary reporter, book review editor, and book reviewer; for 14 of those years, she was an assistant book editor at the Los Angeles Times Book Review. 

She had wanted to write poetry after studying English at UCLA, but news work and being a parent made small time for it. When, however, she left the newspaper world, and her daughter went to college, “Poetry,” Georgia says, “came back to me like a long-lost, muddy dog.”

As poems accrued, Jane Kenyon became for Georgia “one of the most inspiring poets to read and turn to” in her own writing. Then a trip east allowed a visit to Eagle Pond.  

“To have the opportunity, on a dark, snowy afternoon, to walk through the rooms and  look through the windows that Jane did in the course of her daily life opened new vistas and a new sense of companionship for me. Now I can look over her shoulder as she sat at her desk, and it brings her poems even closer to my heart.” 

Inspired by her visit, Georgia wrote this poem:


Two days into cold spring,
I stand in her room beneath the eaves,
where she composed the poems,

beside the womanly, wood-burning stove,
a scallop-collared locomotive
breathing out clouds of thin heat

on ice-age days in Wilmot.
Out her window: woods, barn,
the sleeping bear, Mount Kearsarge.

Did she read new lines to Gus,
his tail thumping with dog knowledge
that she was following the right scent?

Farmed memories, harvested scenes
of marriage, mortality, no daily moment
too small to be caught in the headlights.

Consider her poem “The Hermit” — that harrowing
winter night drive home,
her focus on safe arrival, standing at the kitchen sink,
sipping a cup of water in the dim circle of light.

On this icy day of receding sun, I stand at the same sink, thirsty
for her presence in the kitchen that pulses
with her loss and with the calm of my own arrival.

For more information, please visit

At Eagle Pond, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established to preserve the farm where poets Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon shared a writing life, as well as to honor their work, open the house to the public, invite reflection on poetry and place, and provide residencies where poets and others can take up their own work. 

Donations can be made at or sent to the following address:  At Eagle Pond, Inc., P. O. Box 452, Wilmot, NH 03230. Except as indicated, all photographs © At Eagle Pond, Inc.