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Nationally acclaimed poet, photographer, filmmaker, and novelist James Baker Hall has long been regarded as one of Kentucky’s most profound artists. Hall’s growing body of work is an essential part of Kentucky’s literary tradition, and yet his poetry in particular transcends the borders of the Commonwealth.

The Total Light Process collects poems spanning Hall’s celebrated career as well as new poems that have never before been published. The subjects of Hall’s poems range from humorous and revealing portraits of his fellow writers and friends Wendell Berry, Ed McClanahan, and Gurney Norman, to the traumatic experience of his mother’s suicide when he was eight years old, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the tragic murder of Matthew Shepherd.

James Baker Hall, the former Kentucky Poet Laureate and a native of Kentucky, has taught creative writing at the University of Kentucky since 1973. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing at Stanford. Hall is the author of five volumes of poetry, two novels, and four collections of photography. His works include Praeder’s Letters; Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings; and Tobacco Harvest.

“Demonstrates clearly why James Baker Hall deserves to be considered one of the region's finest poets."—Appalachian Heritage

“The spirits of James Wright and William Stafford live in the work of James Baker Hall."—Bloomsbury Review

The Total Light Process finds Hall marrying new work with older poems that mesh to produce a broad canvas filled with varying perspectives that demonstrate how his work has evolved over years of travel, writing and remembering."—Lexington Herald-Leader

“Hall is a serious poet and a comic poet in almost the same breath. . . . Through six books, across 40 years, this collection charts the brilliant progress of one of Kentucky's signature poets."—Louisville Courier-Journal

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






James Baker Hall, Kentucky, Poetry, Kentucky authors


Creative Writing

The Total Light Process: New & Selected Poems
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