I headed back to Philipsburg, the place where Hugo wrote “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg.”
After the poem came out, folks set up an account at the bank and called it “The Richard Hugo Fund.” Funds supported new streetlamps to fend off the “degrees of gray.”
The town, a place where hard people mined silver and manganese, a town where people left town—this is the town where Richard Hugo came, in 1966, to be in a film by Annick and Dave Smith. Back then, Hugo wrote that “the principal supporting business now is rage.”
Now, the principal supporting business includes a wholesome tourism. Here’s Sue Jenner from the Broadway Hotel, a beautiful place to stay:
It’s pretty much a rage-free town.
I was there this last week and it snowed. May 5th.
This is the stoplight on the cover of my book, taken from the side street.
Doesn’t look “laid out by the insane,” does it?