Tuesday December 1st, 2009

“Ye gods—I wish I were a millionaire—”

e-bishopTo accompany this week’s review of Thomas Mallon’s book about letters, each day the blog will feature two letters. This one was written by Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell on May 29, 1973. She sent it from Seattle. It’s taken from Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell edited by Thomas Travisano with Saskia Hamilton. The book notes that the “little book” she mentions is “[p]ossibly a letter-press printing of ‘Poem’ for the Phoenix Book Shop, New York (1973).”

Dear Cal:

I’ll be going back to Cambridge in 3 or 4 days and I’ll write you from there—I don’t like this kind of little book very much, but I finally gave in & did this one—or they did—& you might as well have a copy, since I believe you like the poem—

I am not feeling TOO friendly at the moment, because my “class” is finding you very difficult & much too EASTERN!—&, save me, they won’t look up words, even the easiest, in the dictionary . . . Ye gods—I wish I were a millionaire—but anyway, never again—

Much love,