Hall to McNair: January 7, 1977


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7 January 1977

Wes McNair
New Hampshire 03260

Dear Wes,

Many thanks for that letter. I’m delighted that you like the
poems. The minute I saw how good your poems were, I wanted you to like
my poems! I look forward to showing you more.

If you want to take a chance and wait to do a book-book, I will
only applaud your courage! That is, I know perfectly well – and you do
too – that a lot of bad books get published, and a number of good books
go unpublished, at least for quite a while – and that quality does not
guarantee acceptance, etc. But I am very very high on your poems, and
I could for instance recommend them very very highly to Harper & Row, and
that might help. I should say though that I have given “very very high
recommendation” to Harper & Row in the past, and I probably have, at
that level, I’m probably only batting about 400. Or less [handwritten].

I’m happy – we’re happy – if our admiration for your poems has
felt good to you. No, it doesn’t surprise me. I was hoping it would
help. It’s so rare that one can feel that way, that one can really look
a man in the eyes and express that kind of confidence – it’s a delight to
be able to do it.

Go ahead and be consumed with self-doubt. Some day you will hear
me express “confidence” in somebody you think is absolutely terrible. Or
whatever. That is, confidence is probably not even a useful quality among
poets! But it sure does feel good, when you feel it from time to time,
doesn’t it? Your letter has cheered me up about those poems. I was a
little bit down on some of them, for one reason or another – possibly sun
spots or the full moon!

We look forward to the revised copy of the manuscript, heaven knows.
Drop in when you’re over this way.

Best as ever,