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John Harvard's Journal

Don Share

September-October 2001

Don Share peering over turntable

Photograph by Rose Lincoln

Across from Don Share's desk hangs a photograph of Robert Lowell '37, Litt.D. '66, the poet Share unabashedly identifies as "My hero. Lowell was a great master in that he knew everything but was not a slave to what he knew. He could write about great historical events and something that happened to him that afternoon, and somehow work it all together." As the new curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room (now part of Houghton Library, though still housed in Lamont), Share is deeply immersed in both history and poetry. In addition to books, he cares for more than 4,000 recordings of poets from Tennyson to Jorie Graham reading aloud, a collection rivaling that of the Library of Congress. Tape, acetate, metal discs, long-playing records, and digital audiotapes abound, and this fall, Woodberry will acquire its first DVD. But the recordings are deteriorating. "We need to restore and digitize them," Share says, "to bring this great collection forward into the digital age." Share grew up in Memphis, matriculated at Columbia, and transferred to Brown, graduating in religious studies in 1978. A Boston University M.A. in English and creative writing followed in 1988. He has been poetry editor of Partisan Review since 1997, the year a decade's work reached fruition in I Have Lots of Heart, his translations of Spanish poet Miguel Hernández; the book won the TLS Translation Prize. Share's poetry has appeared in places like Poetry and the Paris Review, but he is only now assembling a collection of his own poems; "There is something about service to the art that is more important to me than making a name for myself," he explains. He also enjoys music ("I can play nearly any instrument except the woodwinds") and lives in Dedham with his wife, poet Jacquelyn Pope, a Houghton Mifflin editor. There, he says, "We eat and drink poems."