McNair to Hall: July 26, 1980


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July 26, 1980

Dear Don,

I’m not sure which “Superman” poem you ask about,
since there are two. One (“The Thugs…”) has been published.
the other (“When Superman Died…”) has not. If you
meant “When Superman Died,” I’ll be glad to send it
right away – just let me know!

You’ve no doubt noticed that I’m including two recent
poems which you haven’t seen. I was planning to send
them later for your “judgement,” [sic] but something’s come up.
I’ve just received a letter from Peter Davison, whom I
wrote to ask about publishing Going Back Poems through
Atlantic Monthly Press. He said no to that, but I wants
me [sic] to send him some poems to look at for The Atlantic
. I would like to send the enclosed two, if you
think they are reasonably OK, along with two which Joey
currently has – ie, “Old Trees” and “The Fat Enter
Heaven.” Oh – maybe also “Hair on Television.”

But I will certainly not give Davison any of
the Joey poems unless he says they are available,
and unless you think it advisable to send these
particular ones. It may well be that Joey has hopes


for them elsewhere – or maybe you feel that they (or
the enclosed 2) are not appropriate for The Atlantic.
Whatever, I await your view of all this.

Incidentally these 2 are not the only poems I’ve
finished recently. I’ve written two others, but I
am holding onto those because I’ve come to feel that
they might become segments of another poem. I will
certainly be sending these poems and others in some
future batch.

Thanks for your help!



Editorial note about this letter: Going Back Poems was for a short time an alternative title for McNair’s book in progress, though he eventually returned to his earlier title, The Faces of Americans in 1853.

Read Calling Harold (published version)