The President’s Peace Commission selected H. Palmer Hall, Ph.D., to receive the 2008 Art of Peace Award during its spring program. The award is given to an artist whose work embodies the quest for justice and peace.
Hall has been the director of the Louis J. Blume Library at St. Mary’s University since the late 1970’s. In addition, for more than 17 years he has run Pecan Grove Press, which has a significant presence on the University campus and in the nation. The press, under Hall’s leadership and foresight, has attained a national and international reputation for publishing compelling books of poetry from new and emerging writers as well as from highly respected writers. Hall has secured a reputation as one of the finest small publishers and most respected editors today.
Hall’s first book, A Measured Response, an anthology of poems written by Vietnam War veterans as a response to the first Persian Gulf War, gave these war veterans voices. His second book, From the Periphery: Poems and Essays, deals with Hall’s own personal experiences in Vietnam, including his protests against the war while still an active-duty soldier. Deep Thicket and Still Waters, his third published work, is a series of poems and essays that lament the heinous hate crimes committed against James Byrd Jr. To Wake Again, a recent short collection of poems on the current Iraq War, was published three years ago by Pudding House Publishing. And this year, Plain View Press published Hall’s full-length collection of essays, Coming to Terms. In the future, Turning Point Press will be publishing Hall’s selected poems, Foreign and Domestic.
The entire collection of Hall’s work is based on and steeped in literary works that define, point to, and spotlight the need for justice and peace. He has dedicated decades to promoting poetry as a presence in the world for bearing witness to social injustice and as a voice for truth. While preserving his own personal commitment to the writing of poetry, Hall has maintained an enormous commitment to the community of poets in San Antonio as well as nationally by publishing their work, organizing readings that include them, and taking their books on the road to sell at conferences and book fairs. Furthermore, he mentors student writers by publishing a book of poems or stories by a select St. Mary’s University student each year. By so doing, he urges young people to take their voices and their writing seriously – serving as speakers for truth within their own community.