Hall to McNair: September 3, 1979


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3 September 1979

Wes McNair
Box 43
North Sutton, NH 03260

Dear Wes,

Here is a book by Jenny, which includes reference to earlier
books, and a famous anthologized poem. I know that I have been in
anthology with her and that poem, and I cannot find it. Maybe – doubltess [sic] –
it is somewhere in the Colby-Sawyer library. But then, it is somewhere
in my library too, and I cannot find it. Jenny is a bit younger than I
am, and has done a lot of BBC stuff and journalism of one sort and
another, as well as the books of poems which are of course what she takes
most seriously.

As far as I can tell, there would only be two possible days,
the 27th or the 28th of September. She is visiting with her daughter,
and has a lot of things planned ahead of course, and I don’t think
that she could stay around or come back.

Let me know just as soon as you can, please.

Well, I am delighted about Fran’s initial response also, and I
know that I must not be “not too hopeful” and I hope to heaven you
know it also. Chances are, as ever, that we will not get what we both
want. But I hope that we do!

Don’t be disturbed about me feeling that things do not work. I
cannot remember ever having been wholly satisfied with anything by
anybody I know. [Written in margin: Or by me.]

I don’t feel more comfortable about that image with the o’s,
because I don’t know where the telephone linesman came from. I think
they have to be in there, cutting and making this unnatural, artificial,
man-made o. I was trying to imagine a natural one, which is what I felt
you had me imagining.

I don’t know whether the line would stress the car more than the
driving…I wasn’t particularly happy about the line that I suggested.
But I felt the lack of the bone, with the verb missing. I don’t think
that an incomplete sentence is really unusual syntax exactly. It didn’t
bother me as being peculiar or unusual or eccentric. It bothered me
as seeming somehow incomplete – I mean not just incomplete in the way
that it literally was. As lacking some essential organism to make it
thoroughly alive and vigorous.

I look forward to the two longish poems, heaven knows, and everything
else. Also to read the new order. I suspect that I will like it.
But it is hard for me to know without actually reading through it again
In the new way.

I told Joey and he says cool.

Love as ever,


Editorial note about this letter: McNair is mistaken about having sent “The Thin Man” earlier and finally includes it with his next letter, on September 12. “Hair on Television” doesn’t reach Hall until McNair sends it on September 19.
A note from McNair about this letter: Don asked for the fair copies of the new poems by telephone, telling me at that time about Bly’s poem on the subject of hair.