Monday, November 14, 2005

Remembering Maxine Dickey:

I was visiting Jim and Maxine Dickey in South Carolina, soon after Robert Penn Warren and his wife had been there. Maxine and I were partners in crime and literary gossip and I always stayed up late with her, post-soirées, while she washed her beautiful beloved dishes brought back from Italy and never let me help. This particular time we started talking about Red Warren and his recent visit, during which he had read and held forth at the University of South Carolina where Jim was genius-in-residence. Maxine got strange, asking me again and again if I really liked Warren and his work; and I kept telling her yes, yes, especially the poems for which I was not alone in thinking he deserved the Nobel Prize.

"But why do you keep asking me if I like him?"

"It's important. You really like him?"

"Yeah, I keep telling you. One of my ambitions as a writer is to meet him."

"Oh, I'm so glad."


"Because Michael, darlin', I didn't change the sheets."


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