Hall to McNair: February 8, 1980


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8 February 1980

Wes McNair
Box 43
N. Sutton, NH 03260

Dear Wes,

Thank you for writing as you did. I am sorry to be
the source, or the effective cause, of such unhappiness.
This too will pass, and in the meantime – as you say so
eloquently – something has happened to be learned from.

Although Joey did not do terribly well for you, certain
things may be opening up. No sign of interest from New Yorker,
but I think that things are quite chaotic there right now, and
I would not be too discouraged about it. When you write new
things, I think you ought to try them there. Hayden
Carruth has shown an interest in your work, and I think you
ought to try again. When you write him with new poems, do
remind him that I showed him some earlier – because I did
it in my own person.

However, do be terribly careful, please, not ever to
mention the connection between Joey and me.
[Written in margin: to anyone.] It would be a
matter of great embarrassment to me if any of these poetry
editors, some of whom I know under my own name!, realized
that I was corresponding with them under another.

As I sent out the poems, many magazines took forever
to answer. (One of them was Poetry, by the way, with the
first batch; and then they did take two later. So these long
delays were perhaps not all a waste of time.) But the minute
they came back, I sent them out again the same day. So the
notion that nine months meant that you should not take seriously
the possibility that you might be published…well, obviously
I think that was a very strange thought. Or it was a strange
thought that you would then feel free to publish them elsewhere
without letting me know, while I was still madly sending them

But I need not repeat myself, I realize! Your remorse
is bad enough, and there’s no point in rehearsing things.

I take it that the two poems which Poetry ^has taken have not been
published elsewhere. …I do know that your publication of
“The Thin Man” in the Concord Monitor was only naïve. …The
thing to remember is that publishing is publishing, period.
That there is nothing which is tantamount to this or tantamount
to that. All they are interested in is whether something has


been published or not.

Now for that matter, I merely generalize. If you
send “The Thin Man” out again, to other magazines, I suggest
that you always tell the editor that it appeared in a news-
paper interview in a newspaper called the Concord Monitor
with a circulation of blah blah blah. Somebody may take it
anyway. Certainly some small magazine, with a small circulation,
would feel free to take it. Or quite possibly the Boston
Monthly might feel free to take it. I merely mean that if
the New Yorker had taken it, where it was sitting while it
appeared in the Concord Monitor, the New Yorker would def-
initely have gone back on its acceptance. And that most of
the self-respecting quarterlies and monthlies – Atlantic,
Poetry, etc. – would not take it after it appeared in the
Concord Monitor, if they knew about it.

For that matter, the Harvard Magazine would take it.
And just to prove to you that my regard and high wishes
for your work continues intact, may I please have The Thin Man
for the Harvard Magazine, when it comes back from the Virginia
Quarterly? I do not mind reprinting from the Concord Monitor.

May I?