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Words in Air

The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell

By , (Author), Thomas Travisano (Editor), Saskia Hamilton (Editor)

Paperback published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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About This Book
Robert Lowell once remarked in a letter to Elizabeth Bishop that “you ha[ve] always been my favorite poet and favorite friend.” The feeling was mutual. Bishop said that conversation with Lowell left her feeling “picked up again to the proper table-land of poetry,” and she once begged him, “Please never stop writing me letters—they always manage to make me feel like my higher self (I’ve been re-reading Emerson) for several days.” Neither ever stopped writing letters, from their first meeting in 1947 when both were young, newly launched poets until Lowell’s death in 1977. The substantial, revealing—and often very funny—interchange that they produced stands as a remarkable collective achievement, notable for its sustained conversational brilliance of style, its wealth of literary history, its incisive snapshots and portraits of people and places, and its delicious literary gossip, as well as for the window it opens into the unfolding human and artistic drama of two of America’s most beloved and influential poets.
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Robert Lowell once remarked in a letter to Elizabeth Bishop that “you ha[ve] always been my favorite poet and favorite friend.” The feeling was mutual. Bishop said that conversation with Lowell left her feeling “picked up again to the proper table-land of poetry,” and she once begged him, “Please never stop writing me letters—they always manage to make me feel like my higher self (I’ve been re-reading Emerson) for several days.” Neither ever stopped writing letters, from their first meeting in 1947 when both were young, newly launched poets until Lowell’s death in 1977. The substantial, revealing—and often very funny—interchange that they produced stands as a remarkable collective achievement, notable for its sustained conversational brilliance of style, its wealth of literary history, its incisive snapshots and portraits of people and places, and its delicious literary gossip, as well as for the window it opens into the unfolding human and artistic drama of two of America’s most beloved and influential poets.
Product Details
Paperback (928 pages)
Published: March 16, 2010
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374531898
Other books byElizabeth Bishop
  • Geography III

    Geography III
    Poems
    Whether writing about waiting as a child in a dentist's office, viewing a city from a plane high above, or losing items ranging from door keys to one's lover in the masterfully restrained "One Art," Elizabeth Bishop somehow conveyed both large and small emotional truths in language of stunning exactitude and even more astonishing resonance. As John Ashbery has written, "The private self . . . melts imperceptibly into the large utterance, the grandeur of poetry, which, because it remains rooted in everyday particulars, never sounds 'grand,' but is as quietly convincing as everyday speech."

    The Collected Prose

    The Collected Prose
    Presented in two sections, "Memory: Persons and Places" and "Stories," this book offers the collected prose writings of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), one of America's most celebrated and admired poets. The selections are arranged not by date of compostion, but in biographical order, such that reading this volume greatly enriches one's understanding of Bishop's life--and thus her poetry as well. "Bishop's admirers will want to consult her Collected Prose for the light it sheds on her poetry," as David Lehman wrote in Newsweek. "They will discover, however, that it is more than just a handsome companion volume to [her] Complete Poems. . . . Bishop's clean, limpid prose makes her stories and memoirs a delight to read. . . . One regrets only that this volume cannot be added to in years to come."

    Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box

    Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box
    Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments
    From the mid-1930s to 1978 Elizabeth Bishop published some ninety poems and thirty translations. Yet her notebooks reveal that she embarked upon many more compositions, some existing in only fragmentary form and some embodied in extensive drafts. Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box presents, alongside facsimiles of many notebook pages from which they are drawn, poems Bishop began soon after college, reflecting her passion for Elizabethan verse and surrealist technique; love poems and dream fragments from the 1940s; poems about her Canadian childhood; and many other works that heretofore have been quoted almost exclusively in biographical and critical studies. This revelatory and moving selection brings us into the poet's laboratory, showing us the initial provocative images that moved Bishop to begin a poem, illustrating terrain unexplored in the work published during her lifetime. Editor Alice Quinn has also mined the Bishop archives for rich tangential material that illuminates the poet's sources and intentions.

    One Art

    One Art
    Letters
    From several thousand letters, written over fifty years - from 1928, when she was seventeen, to the day of her death, in Boston in 1979 - Robert Giroux has selected over five hundred and has written a detailed and informative introduction. One Art takes us behind Bishop's formal sophistication and reserve, displaying to the full the gift for friendship, the striving for perfection, and the passionate, questing, rigorous spirit that made her a great poet.

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