McNair to Hall: November 12, 1980 (1)


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November 12, 1980

Dear Don,

How wonderful it is that Joey has managed to
interest John Nims in the poems! I have long hoped
someone would see something of worth in “Hair
on Television,” and “The Fat Enter Heaven” is a poem
I feared no one other than you, Jane, Joey and I
would like. I am very glad they will appear in Poetry
and very grateful to Joey for his good efforts and his
continuing faith.

Of course Nims is correct, as you say, that “tampons”
should be changed. I enclose a touched-up revision,
which I hope he, and you, will find acceptable.

Contrary to my stated intentions of two or three
weeks ago, I also enclose two new poems. The reason
is I am worried Joey is running out of stuff to
send out. Where he is getting other poems to mail
to Poetry – and to the Atantic – I cannot imagine,
but he must be at the absolute bottom of the barrel.

Would the two poems help Joey with his attempts
at the Atlantic (suggested, I believe, in an earlier
letter?) Or anywhere else?


Please let me know if you think to, and thanks again
and again for all you both have done in my behalf
at Poetry!




You will come into an antique town
whose houses move apart
as if you’d interrupted
a private discussion. This is the place
you must pass through to get there.
Imagining lives tucked in
like china plates, continue driving.
Beyond the landscaped streets,
beyond the last colonial
gas station and unsolved
by zoning is a road. It will take you
to old farmhouses and trees
with car-tire swings.
Signs will announce hairdressing
and nightcrawlers.
The timothy grass will run beside you
all the way to where I live.

– Wesley McNair

A note from McNair about this letter: The “touched-up” revision of “Hair on Television,” not available with this letter, replaced “tampons” with “maxi-pads,” in response to John Nims’s objections.