Hall to McNair: January 18, 1984

Letter from Hall to McNair, January 18, 1984, Colby College Special Collections

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18 January 1984

Wesley McNair
Hominy Pot Rd.
North Sutton, NH 03260

Dear Wes,

I like the poem, though I don’t think it is one of the best. It
is maybe a little obvious. I think that ‘a sure sign/ of winter” is
super-obvious. Maybe people need it, who do not live around here… It
is “a sure sign” which is a little commonplace maybe. If it were just
“for” winter…but I wouldn’t know how to space it quite. I love the great
loaf of bread. I don’t really understand the “mound of seatlessness,” al-
though the “drawlessness” could be chests of drawers without the drawers
in them. What am I missing with seatlessness? Then “other/ kinds of
imperfection” seems sort of obvious again – I mean, stating the obvious…
When I see “surmise” in a poem I think of Keats, but it wouldn’t seem to
function as an allusion here. Then it ends nicely… And I am not against
it in general. Just not as enthusiastic as I often am.

I didn’t know that the Begiebing was happening already. I know what
you mean about waiting and cringing. Ah, the bad portions of fame!

I wonder if it might not be worth it to telephone him, about Jane,
to see if he could add a sentence at the beginning – and that then he could
phone it in…maybe about the first poem in Green House… I worry about
her feelings. I would not tell her that I am writing you this! This sort
of thing happens fairly often, and in accumulation I think she gets kind of
hurt feelings. I do not blame you. Being interviewed, you always – one
always – forgets things. And cringes.

If you should go away, you may write more things like Jack Cooch,
from a distance! I did not stop writing about New Hampshire, just because
I was in Michigan.

Good for trying all those Poetry Society of America things…and
everything else.

If nothing can be done about the Jane-presence, do not worry about it.
But it might be worth a try…

Best as ever,


Editorial note about this letter: Green House is Jane Kenyon’s co-edited literary magazine.