“…When I knew him, the poet Hayden Carruth was an old man with a tremendous white beard.
It spread down past his pectorals – and frothed ahead of him as though he were perpetually stepping out of a bath.
For most of his life, the beard was cropped and average — it was an unserious beard.
But by the time I met him in 2003, it was the broad, white beard of a poet in exile -
- grown out in his desolate corner of America, a nothing-town near Syracuse called Munnsville.
“The kids call it Funs-ville,” he told me.
Walking into his rickety red house, I said something like, “What a nice house” — to be polite.
“Hayden tried to commit suicide in this house,” his wife, Joe-Anne, shot out reflexively.
“No, I didn’t,” Hayden said, barely turning his head from the picture window.
“Yes, you did,” Joe-Anne shouted.
She nagged him.
They bickered a while.
Then he raised his voice, interrupted her and settled it:
“The pills were in the house,” Hayden said, “but I did it in the car.”…”
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