By Sarah Ruhl
A relocating, leading edge play in keeping with one of many maximum correspondences in literary history
From 1947 to 1977, Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop exchanged greater than 400 letters. Describing the writing in their poems, their go back and forth and day-by-day health problems, the pyrotechnics in their romantic relationships, and the profound affection they'd for every different, those missives are the main intimate checklist to be had of either poets and one of many maximum correspondences in American literature.
The playwright Sarah Ruhl fell in love with those letters and set herself an strange problem: to show this thirty-year alternate right into a level play, and to convey to lifestyles the friendship of 2 writers who have been not often even within the similar nation. As leading edge because it is relocating, Dear Elizabeth provides voice to a talk that lived quite often in writing, illuminating the various best poems of the 20 th century and the minds that produced them.
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Extra resources for Dear Elizabeth: A Play in Letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and Back Again
I thought it'd be only a subject of time prior to I proposed and that i part believed that you'd settle for. but i wished all of it to have the perfect build-up. good, I didn’t say something then. and naturally it wasn’t the suitable stage-setting, after which there has been that poetry convention at Bard and that i bear in mind one night presided over by means of Mary McCarthy and my Elizabeth was once there, and going domestic to the Bard poets’ dormitory, i used to be so inebriated that my fingers grew to become chilly and that i felt half-dying and held your hand. And not anything used to be stated, and prefer a loon that wishes sixty toes, i feel, to take off from the water, i wished time and house, and went on assuming, and while i used to be to have joined you at Key West i used to be decided to invite you. particularly for thus callous (I worry) a guy, i used to be fearfully shy and frightened of spoiling issues and distrustful of being regular sufficient to be the least stable. Then after all the Yaddo explosion got here and all was once over. The water recedes. but there have been a number of months. and naturally our friendship particularly wasn’t a relationship, was once particularly disinterested (bad word) fairly resulted in no encroachments. So it really is. enable me say this even though after which depart the problem eternally; I do imagine loose will is sewn into every thing we do; you can’t move a highway, mild a cigarette, drop saccharine on your espresso with out fairly doing it. but the prospective choices that existence permits us are only a few, frequently there needs to be none. I’ve by no means notion there has been any selection for me approximately writing poetry. doubtless if I used my head larger, ordered my existence greater, labored tougher, the poetry will be more desirable, and there needs to be many misplaced poems, innumerable injuries and ill-done activities. yet asking you is the could have been for me, the single towering switch, the opposite lifestyles that would were had. It used to be that means for those 9 years or in order that intervened. It used to be deeply buried, and this spring and summer season it boiled to the outside. Now it won’t ensue back. It won’t occur, I’m quite beneath completely in love and offered on my Elizabeth, and it’s a very good solace to me that you're with Lota, and i'm convinced it's the will of the heavens that every one is because it is. He arms her a list. P. S. The final half is simply too heatedly written with too many ands etc. The list is French Renaissance Vocal song. She takes the checklist. She closes her eyes. song. She opens her eyes. Love, Cal She appears to be like out, now not figuring out what to assert. Blackout. Intermission. ACT half One: Skunk LOWELL P. S. The final half is just too heatedly written with too many ands and so on. The list is French Renaissance Vocal song. She takes the checklist. Love, Cal She places the list on. She selections up a pen. She attempts to jot down. She stops and crumples the paper. She attempts back. SUBTITLE: one hundred fifteen East 67th road, big apple, August 28, 1957 BISHOP Dearest Cal: i wished to reply to your fantastic letter correct away … but … She stops. in the meantime he climbs a ladder. yet we’ve been so busy … And I’m apt to be interrupted at any second by means of my Brazilian pals coming back from Bloomingdale’s.