This essay will discuss the literary friendships enjoyed by Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. The main aspects of the research will focus on the poems written by the two poets in order to confirm the fact that their friendship was based on the strong sense of affinity. Furthermore, the essay examines the works of the two poets in order to find similar features.
Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop met in New York, 1947 at a dinner party hosted by Randall Jarrell. This fateful meeting made the two poets get along with each other well, and formed a professional relationship that could see them exchange a lot of ideas regarding poetry. There was a strong sense of affinity between these creative individuals, and their works brought them together. During the 20th century, Lowell and Bishop became two significant poets. Their friendship was expressed in letters, which both of the poets wrote. Although the two never married, their works reflected special interrelation and how their talents in poetry led to a strong and long-lasting friendship. The two had an impact on each other’s life since they always shared common experience (Spivack 132).
The poetic relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop turned into an admiration of each other’s achievements in poetry. Elizabeth Bishop always admired the ability of Lowell to use his life’s experiences when writing poems. In addition, Bishop always liked the fluency that Robert Lowell had. On his part, Lowell always admired the control that Elizabeth Bishop portrayed. One of their works that depict the relationship between these two authors is “Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.” This piece of work comprises of a collection of letters that the poets wrote; it is satiated with intimacy, brilliance, and humor expressed by two unique individuals. The literary correspondence between Lowell and Bishop reflects the resemblance between these poets. The correspondence also indicates that owing to this fellow feeling they longed to be together and share ideas, which would help them grow professionally in their creative career (Bishop and Lowell 22).
The strong sense of affinity between the two poets can be portrayed through how Robert Lowell described Elizabeth Bishop in one of the letters that he wrote. Lowell told Elizabeth Bishop that she had always been a favorite friend, as well as his favorite poet. Therefore, there is a mutual feeling between the two poets since Bishop also remarked that Lowell had been one of the poets she had admired most in her career. Bishop contended that the conversations she had with Lowell always made her develop her skills in order to have significant achievements in poetry. Lowell always acknowledged the works of Bishop to the extent that he begged her never to stop writing him letters. Bishop appreciated the letters that Lowell wrote, and she confessed that they always made her feel as a top poet (Lowell and Jeffrey 123).
The strong sense of affinity between the two poets is also evident from the fact that the interchange between them can be regarded as one of the most remarkable achievements, which they had in their lives. Both Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell portrayed immense brilliance and remarkable use of literary styles. The significant influence they had in the world of poetry cannot be belittled since their works influenced creations of other poets. The strong sense of congeniality between these two poets is also evident from the fact that Lowell had thought of proposing to Bishop. Therefore, it seems there were romantic feelings between them as reflected in the letters that they exchanged. Romance is evident, although it is not extremely pronounced. Lowell called Elizabeth Bishop his darling while Bishop addressed Lowell as his dear boy (Bishop and Lowell 25).
Since the two poets met, they had practiced some form of love that they created through the poems and letters. Artists always sought the counsel of each other; it was obvious in the 1970s when Lowell wanted to publish ‘The Dolphin’. Although Lowell said that he did not want anyone’s advice while publishing the book, he agreed that Bishop’s counsel would be of significant benefit. Bishop disregarded this volume and Lowell did not publish it only because of her opinion. The distance between the two poets seemed to have necessitated and strengthened their relationship; the letters that they exchanged played a crucial role for invigoration of their amity (Fountain and Peter 101).
The strong literary friendship between the two poets also emanated from the many things that they had in common. At an early age, Bishop had encountered madness while Lowell had also experienced mental illness, and this also served to strengthen the relationship between the two. The similarities between these two poets extend to the fact that both of them seemed to like the same activities, such as fishing. When they first met, Lowell and Bishop visited a museum where they enjoyed watching the paintings of marine life and fish. In her poem “The Fish”, Bishop explored the relationship between Lowell and her, so it can be explained primarily in the context of their closeness (Lowell and Jeffrey 124).
Robert Lowell was inspired by this very poem. Moreover, he found it to have a lot of meaning and went ahead to learn this creation. Lowell reviewed the works of Bishop and revealed its hidden keys, making them more appealing to the reader. Lowell had an opinion that the works written by Bishop can be termed as consistent, logical, as well as comprehensive.
Lowell always praised Elizabeth Bishop for her compositions since he regarded these literary achievements as complete. Lowell considered that Elizabeth Bishop expressed her feelings in all the works that she published. The two poets missed the company of each other since they realized that being together helped them grow in their careers. In the letter entitled “I seem to spend my life missing you”, it is clear that the two poets longed to be together while exchanging brilliant ideas about poetry. The exchange between the two writers portrays various elements that accompany poetry. All their thoughts revolved around love, comedy, as well as sadness that usually accompany all literary works. Although they might have had feelings for each other, the professional relationship between them is what brought them together and enabled them to move forward. Both admired each other’s brilliance. Lowell considered Bishop as one of the best poets of their time. On her part, Bishop had the courage to confess her shyness to Lowell as she considered her devoted friend as one of the great poets of the 20th century (Fountain and Peter 103).
In conclusion, the friendship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop was concentrated on the fact that the two poets had a strong sense of affinity between them. They definitely had a lot in common, and they gained invaluable knowledge from each other. The letters they exchanged served to enkindle their friendship and reflected their mastery in poetry. The two poets praised each other, and they acknowledged each other’s works. Through the letters written by “creative minds”, the two poets had an opportunity to share numerous ingenious ideas.