McNair to Hall: February 23, 1980


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February 23, 1980

Dear Don,

Given my tendency toward maudlinity, I do not trust myself to
elaborate on the respect and gratitude I feel upon learning of your
(and Joey’s) offer to send out my poems. So I will limit my response
to a simple thank you, hoping that both you and Joey will know my
thank you is most deeply felt.

You asked me to tell you where the enclosed poems have been sent.
According to your letter, “Holding the Goat” and “When Superman Died”
have been rejected by the New Yorker, Paris Review and Poetry; “Going
Back to Elinore Quelch” has been rejected by the New Yorker, Poetry,
Paris Review, Atlantic, Virginia Quarterly Review, Harper’s and The
Nation; and “The Thin Man” and “Hair on Television” have been rejected
by the New Yorker. One more thing you should know is that last Monday
(having waited three weeks after you wrote to withdraw “Hair on
Television” from editorial consideration) I sent “Hair on Television”
to American Poetry Review. Should “Hair on Television” be returned
unpublished, rest assured that I will send it immediately to Joey.

Incidentally, I wish you would please tell me what percentage
of the pay from Poetry Joey should have when my poems are published there.
I seem to recollect ten percent, but perhaps it was more…

In the enclosed batch is a revision of “Old Trees”, which I do
hope you like. I have changed the length of the poem’s stanzas from
two lines to three, and I’ve changed an image that you once questioned.
The poem feels better to me, but I would very much like to have
your response. Would you write me about it when you have a spare moment?

I still await word from “the contests” – the Walt Whitman Award,
the National Poetry Contest, the Yale Younger Poets – and from the
Pitt Poetry Series. Don’t know if I told you that Wesleyan rejected
the book. I’m preparing myself for the possible depression of spring!

In the meantime, I’ve brought a “five-subject notebook” to
continue with old poems and new^inprogress. Perhaps I will have more
to send soon.

Thank you again,


Read Holding the Goat (published version)

Read When Superman Died in Springfield, Vermont (published version)

Read Hair on Television (published version)