Words in Air

Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop
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ISBN 9780571243082 Format Hardback
Published 06/11/2008 Length 928 pages

About Book

When first introduced to Robert Lowell in 1947, Elizabeth Bishop wrote that 'he was living in a basement room on Third Avenue . . . and was rather untidy. He was wearing a rumpled dark blue suit . . . I took to him at once.' Lowell was equally taken by Bishop, and thought she had 'more to offer, I think, than anyone writing poems in English'. The candid, affectionate, constrained and loving friendship of the two American poets is recorded in letters written over three decades. It begins after the publication of their first books, when they were 'as mischievous as children about the figures they held most in awe' (David Kalstone), and ends only with Lowell's death. The letters also record the complications of each other's lives - Lowell's mental illness, Bishop's struggles with alcohol, their mutually crossed love affairs. In their now celebrated correspondences, they performed best for one another, as the drama of their public and private lives unfolded.
  • About Robert Lowell

    Robert Lowell (1917-1977) was born in Boston. He was recognised as an accomplished poet in his own lifetime, and along with Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman and Sylvia Plath he created the fashion and generated the force of American poetry over the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Life Studies, published in 1959, marked a watershed. It initiated an autobiographical project which would dominate his oeuvre thereafter, and is now regarded as one of the most influential books of the century. He received a Pulitzer Prize for Lord Weary's Castle (1946) and another for The Dolphin (1973).

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  • Edited By: Saskia Hamilton

    Saskia Hamilton is the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell and the co-editor (with Thomas Travisano) of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, and is the author of As for Dream, Divide These, and, in the UK, Canal: New and Selected Poems. She is Associate Professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, and lives in New York City.

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  • Edited By: Thomas Travisano

    Thomas Travisano is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Her Artistic Development and Midcentury Quartet: Bishop, Lowell, Jarrell, Berryman and the Making of a Postmodern Aesthetic. He is co-editor of Gendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and Their Readers and the New Anthology of American Poetry (for Rutgers University Press). He is co-founder and first president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society and is Babcock Professor of English at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.

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