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|29 August 1983
The contract is OK. The royalty stinks – but not to worry.
They’re just cutting their losses. I don’t think they should
exempt the first five hundred from royalties…and I think they
should pay ten per cent of retail…but giving you five hundred
dollars pretty much makes up the difference! You probably will
not see anything after that five hundred, but it does not matter –
the book’s the thing. And copyright reverts to you after it goes
out of print – the most important single item in the contract.
(There have been occasions on which a publisher has published a
book of poems, let it go out of print, and then retained ownership
in the poems – so that when the poor poet wants to reprint the
best of his poems for a Selected Poems, or for virtually ever in
anthologies, the original rotten publisher keeps getting money for
the poems! No problem here.)
Jane is perceptibly-better. She can read a tiny bit of print
now, for a short time. Very slow – but definitely in the right
OK, I will hold off on that poem until I get it from you again
Could you possibly drop me a note about the problems in the
last act, at some point? But we look forward to seeing you also.
But I don’t know when that will be!
Love to you both as ever,
A note from McNair about this letter: Though it has been lost, I wrote Don an extensive critique of the third act of Ragged Mountain Elegies, following his request in the last paragraph.