The Letters Between Poets project centers on an exchange of letters between Wesley McNair and an important mentor of his, the poet Donald Hall, during McNair’s early struggle as a poet. The site includes early correspondence between the two poets, from 1976, when McNair first met Hall, to 1983, when McNair published his first book.
This is the original video submitted to United States Artists for the Letters Between Poets project.
Fundraising for this project has been completed.
The letters are full of advice about poems in progress, the craft and the poet’s vocation, suggestions for the revision of poems in progress, encouragement in the face of rejection by editors, and the effort to find time for creative work despite the chaotic demands of life. What begins as a correspondence between a student and mentor moves toward an exchange between friends and peers.
The primary goal of this project is an educational one: to make these letters available online so students and teachers can read them and learn what it’s like to develop as a poet, with the hope that they will give encouragement and guidance to other beginning poets and writers trying to find their way.
This project is a collaboration between Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire @ Durham, and Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, Maine.