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|March 18, 1984
I will respond to your long letter shortly.
In the meantime, could you please tell me why you think
I should place a comma “after the his” in the last stanza
of “The Shooting”. The reason for no comma is I don’t want
ambiguity about who is calling “his name” (it’s not “they”
doing the calling; it’s “the face”).
A note from McNair about this letter: Here begins my questioning of the single comma Don proposes for “The Shooting.” I ponder that comma off and on with him until my letter of May 6, when I at last see the logic of the change–also changing, in the end, the line break of the poem’s third to last line. To read the May 6 letter and the poem’s published version, click here.