From the archive
She lived in Brooklyn at 260 Cumberland Street in Fort Greene; I lived in Hartley Hall on the Columbia campus in Manhattan. We didn’t talk on the phone. I had no phone except the one in the Hartley lobby to which I could be summoned from my ninth floor room by a desk attendant, and Marianne considered the telephone “an enslaving device” and “an exasperation.” We wrote letters to each other, which were delivered with remarkable promptness, now that I think of it. We had an almost daily back-and-forth at times.
I was watching my new friend make cocoa in her kitchen. She boiled water while the chocolate was melting on a separate burner, poured the water into two teacups and allowed them to sit while the milk began to simmer in another pan. “Elizabeth is wonderful but she gets carried away,” she said. “She tries too hard to describe the wart on the chin for accuracy, don’t you think?” She emptied the water from the warmed teacups, then poured the milk and melted chocolate into the cups with extreme care and stirred them together. The cocoa was the best I had ever tasted. It was 1964. My new friend was Marianne Moore, then 76. “Elizabeth” was Elizabeth Bishop. I was a college freshman.