At President Marion Leroy Burton’s invitation, Robert Frost arrived in the fall of 1921 to serve a one-year stint as the first Creative Fellow at Michigan. The two men were kindred spirits: Both forty-six, each had already achieved much, but had much higher ambitions—Burton to build Michigan into a great national university, Frost to become America’s greatest poet if not also a national institution. And each believed the other would help realize these ambitions.
Time is a color-shifting jelly. They move through it slowly, achieving new positions in which they stay suspended until another change is forced. He answers certain knocks at the door and certain phone calls. He addresses what he can address, and then breaststrokes his way back to her.
The facts I gradually discovered about the human survivors who feed us all have an element of surprise, tinged with wariness about the future. What might once have seemed alien in their way of being came to seem special, all too rare, precious, endangered.