The task and potential greatness of mortals,” in the words of Hannah Arendt as quoted by Donald Hall at the beginning of his eleventh book of poems, The Museum of Clear Ideas, “reside in their ability to produce things which are at home in everlastingness.” Hall’s strategy for being “at home in everlastingness” organizes itself around three emphases: a seven-page elegy for a fictitious poet of our time named Bill Trout; a long, nine-part poem called “Baseball,” the sections of which are innings, written in nine-syllable lines; and the long title sequence, an omnium gatherum modeled after Horace’s odes. There is in addition a reprise of “Baseball” called “Extra Innings.”

Being a particularly trusting reader, the first time I read “Another Elegy” I missed Hall’s broad hint, delivered in the form of an epigraph from T. S. Eliot: “Both...

 
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