There’s a castle outside Edinburgh, a writer’s retreat. I went there because it was exotic, because I like Scotland, and because it’s rather near where my mother lives in England. My father had just died, and I thought it would give me a chance to check in on my mother. I was there for a month surrounded by wet sheep. I don’t know if any of you have ever sent yourself off for a month someplace to write, but one of the things you discover early on is that those places work much better for painters and composers and novelists than they do for poets, because, you know, you get up and you work really hard for three hours and you think, OK, I’ve had it, that’s it. I’m a sprinter. I work in these intense bursts and then I’m done for the day. So it’s noon. And you look out the window and there’s thousands of wet sheep.
—William Matthews, in an interview for Pearl London’s class at the New School (3.29.1994, New York city), "My Father's Body," Poetry in Person (Knopf, 2010), edited by Alexander Neubauer.