Marianne Moore: obsessed with punctuality; Elizabeth Bishop: perpetually late

In an interview with Robert Birnbaum about her A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists (1854-1967), Rachel Cohen says many of the more fanciful sections of the book were based on hunches for which she sought some kind of confirmation. She explains:

Like I started to have the sense that Marianne Moore cared a lot about whether people were really on time. And so I had Elizabeth Bishop coming to meet her and Elizabeth Bishop was often late. I decided to make that – Bishop was in a hurry because she was afraid she was going to be late. And then I found a letter from Moore to somebody else saying that she was really enjoying knowing Elizabeth Bishop, despite the fact that she was always late. Then I thought, ‘Great, I got it. That’s the right tension.’ Then I found George Plimpton’s essay on Marianne Moore, in which he said she wore two watches because she was so obsessed with being on time.


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