McNair to Hall: October 28, 1980


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October 28, 1980
Dear Don,

Wanted you to know your reading of “To a
Waterfowl” last night brought out something I
in my stupidity hadn’t seen before. While the poet/speaker
mocks the affluent ones who “keep” him (the
wealthy businessmen, their wives and college-age
children), he also mocks himself, as a writer of
the poetry, which “shocks” the wives – the mad poet
of feeling, naked in his motel, watching King Kong
Sucks Mount Fugi.

It’s that ironic speaker – ironic accuser, I
should say – that gives the poem’s humor such
dimension, such seriousness, I now feel. I
had sensed the despair in the poem before,
but I never sensed all its sources so clearly.
In a short space, the piece says a lot about
the darker America – its wealth, classes, art
and artists.

By the way and for what it’s worth, I still
like the first version of the father (brother) poem.

It was good to see you, even if briefly.
I hope you made the kick-off!



Read To a Waterfowl (published version)