McNair to Hall: August 24, 1979


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August 24

Dear Don –

It has suddenly occurred to me that I never answered your
good letter about my book and where it might be published. This
lapse does not indicate my indifference – far from it. In fact,
I have taken your words so seriously, making them part
of a conversation with myself, that I’ve forgotten to communicate
with you about my responses.

In brief, then: While I would probably consider publishing
a second book of poetry – perhaps a second, smaller collection –
with a small press, I would rather place my first book
with a “name brand” publisher – a “GM,” to quote you.
It’s that I’ve spent years putting this collection together,
and I’d like to make the biggest splash possible with it.
In the event that I can’t find my GM, I’ll try the other
alternatives. And thanks, by the way, for putting the case
for publishing with the small press so clearly before me.

I’ve been working on a handful of poems – some of which
will appear in the revised^ as per your suggestion manuscript of my book. I
enclose two of the poems for the revised manuscript. I will
send others as they are finished. I’m pulling the two
“dirty poems” out of the book – they seem to break


the tone of that section and the book as a whole – and I’m
changing certain sub-groupings and sub-headings.

You will be the first to see the final product. I write
so much and so little that I frustrate myself, and
everyone else, I fear. Still, I hope to have the new book
for you soon.

In the meantime, thanks for all of your encouragement.
I would be lost without it.

All the best to you and Jane,



In the room
which makes trees go by
and grass run
along the edge of the slow
field and farmhouses turn
small and far away
revealing one
by one their windows


By the road
in the field, they stand

lifting branches
they cannot remember,

rocking shut
in the wind.

In some other world
they grow such trunks

and hurled their leaves
across the sky.

Here, emptyhanded,
they wait

for the end which has been
happening for years.

Growing o’s
around telephone wires,

tethered to farmhouses,
the old trees.