The Literary Canon and its Socioeconomic Barriers: An Analysis of the Poetry of Hazel Hall
Hazel Hall, an early 20th Century American poet, produced many high-quality poems throughout her lifetime. A working-class woman from Oregon, Hall suffered from a bad bout of scarlet fever, consequently causing her to rely on the use of a wheelchair. Hall, due to her disability, was largely confined to her room; her vivid poetry, however, expresses an intensely imaginative inner life, often inspired by her profession as a seamstress. Despite the popularity she received in her lifetime – with the publication of three collections – Hall drifted into relative obscurity for several decades after her death. In recent years, her poems have gathered revived interest. Nonetheless, she continues to go unacknowledged by many contemporary literary enthusiasts. This research seeks to address to what extent socioeconomic factors play a part in Hall’s otherwise unwarranted disappearance. Furthermore, it will address the way in which her experiences positively influenced and coloured much of her writing. In doing so, this research should express the need for a revision in uncovering literary works which have been forgotten due to external factors. In bringing Hall’s collections out from obscurity, her remarkable poems will continue to inspire and bring joy to her readers. They will also help to create a foundation for contemporary writers, for whom the perceived barriers faced by Hall may well resonate with their own.