Hall to McNair: November 28, 1983

Letter from Hall to McNair, November 28, 1983, Page 1, Colby College Special Collections

[Click image to view]

28 November 1983

Wes McNair
Box 43
North Sutton, NH

Dear Wes,

Like all poets, you are too modest! We found out in the
paper that you are reading Wednesday night, December 6th…
Well, you did allude to it, in connection with selling books –
but I didn’t really get it. I will be in Oberlin that night.
Jane is coming back that day from Boston, having read the night
before at the Blacksmith… I don’t know whether she will get there
either. I am sorry to miss it.

It was so good to see you here the other day.

Best as ever, heaven knows, to both of you from both of us,

P.S. Got your two notes, before this went out…

Corned beef as thick as pork chops…what a good title!

You are unhappy about Colby-Sawyer…and I think you have
every reason to be…but we do want the place to survive, selfishly
I suppose… We also want you to stay around here – but that is
pure selfishness! I can manage, with a small and disinterested
part of my soul, to wish you a good job elsewhere… You and I
are good correspondents anyway, so if you are in Missouri or
San Diego, we will Stay in Touch, like they say…

We do Look for the Book… I don’t depart until Sunday,
December 3rd, and I am back Wednesday night December 7th…

I’m delighted that Jerry wants those three poems! Excellent…
It sure does mean that his interest remains keen! Yes, I think
his list is good also. Jane doesn’t want to try to him, I think,
because of his connection with me. But I will bring it up…
I don’t think she will try there.

If it were me, I would allow him to italicize the word “before”
in the title, and then when I saw it in the magazine, I would think
about whether I liked it or not…You can always change it when
you do your book.

I am going into some italics in the Sewanee Review, with
a poem, which I think I will leave off in the book… At the
suggestion of the editor, whose interest I am pleased to have…
But I have told him that I am skeptical, and that I will probably


go back to Roman when I reprint them in a book… In the meantime,
I will have a chance to see what they look like. I don’t understand
what he is up to. The title gives you a turn. I don’t mean that.
I mean it takes you a while to figure out what it means, and the
italics will probably make it easier…The question is whether
you want it to be easy or not!

Copies. I would make sure that copies go to John Frederick
Nims at Poetry, as well as a copy to the magazine Poetry for
their reviewer…and to Peter Davidson at the Atlantic…one copy
will do, but it ought to be addressed to him personally.

I think that one ought to go to the Argus Champion and
another to the Concord Monitor, with notes drawing newspaper’s
attention to your Local Residence…

I think it is worthwhile to send one to Robert Taylor at
the Boston Globe, with a similar note… Probably nothing will
happen, but why not try?

Because I am a reviewer, you can get them to send me one –
and I will get an extra free copy!

Make sure that one is sent to Helen Vendler, although it
is doubtless not going to do anything. But you might as well
enter the lottery!

Definitely send one to Peter Stitt at Dept. of English/
University of Houston/Houston, TX…and get Missouri to say
that this is sent with the author’s compliments, at the suggestion
of Donald Hall. (If you don’t mind.) Peter will take notice.
He reviews every quarter in the Georgia Review… Otherwise…
they will doubtless send out to all the major review outlets
Who else? I cannot think in particular… If I think of more
I will tell you when you come over.

Love as ever, to both of you,