McNair to Hall: May 13, 1984 [misdated 1983]

Letter from McNair to Hall, May 13, 1983, Page 1, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire

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May 13, 1983 [misdated 1983]
Dear Don,

Thanks for your letter. I did write to Mike Pride, the day
after his article came out. In fact, I will soon write to him
again, since the article will be published in The Valley News
on Monday, the day before you receive this, probably. There
will be even more photography, even. I’m sure Mike had
something to do with this.

I guess I did a lousy job describing the Dartmouth
position. I will be there for the fall term (Sept. 23-Dec. 1),
filling in for Cleopatra, who directs all activities connected
with creative writing and teaches in that area. As “Visiting
Associate Professor,” I will teach a class in introductory
creative writing (12 students or fewer), a class in fiction
(4-5 students) and 3 poetry tutorials. It’s a 9-hour
schedule. I will also be in charge of readings, though
much of the fall program has been established. The pay I’m
to get for this will be high enough that I will not have
to do any extra teaching. If I am lucky with my NEA
application, and with another, higher-paying job afterward
(Keene?), I may never have to do extra teaching after
this summer! (……Expect nothing! “–Donald Hall).

I like very much what your poem, in its revision,
says about 20th-century man, machine and state. And
I like how active the title has become. Also, I find


the switch to “I” in stanza 3 strange and arresting.
There are a couple of worries I have about the poem–
small worries. In stanza 3 there is, I think, an
awkward distance between “train” and its verb “sit.”
Also, I wonder about that “webbing” in the stanza–
Do commuter trains have seat-belts? (I haven’t
been on a train with a seat-belt.) If you aren’t
speaking about a seatbelt, I don’t know what
“webbing” refers to – literally, at least. I think the
charged conclusion is quite interesting, overall!

Miscellaneous: Do I know Bill Doreski? I’ve
heard of him–that he is there at Keene State,
that is….I understand he teaches creative writing
and is a poet. I worry a little, to tell the truth,
that my being a poet might hurt my chances
of being hired at Keene, since he or others
might feel another poet ought not to be hired.
The Keene position is in American literature, and I
have done lots of things in that area. I only hope
the lit. background will carry me along. More: Thanks
for thinking of me as one of your “best examples”
for your presentation before the NEA people!

Will contact you later about the instruction of
of [sic] creative writing! In the meantime, love to you both,