By Sarah Ruhl
A relocating, cutting edge play in accordance 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 trip and day-by-day health problems, the pyrotechnics in their romantic relationships, and the profound affection that they had for every different, those missives are the main intimate checklist on hand 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 trade right into a level play, and to convey to existence the friendship of 2 writers who have been not often even within the related nation. As leading edge because it is relocating, Dear Elizabeth provides voice to a talk that lived regularly in writing, illuminating a few of the most interesting poems of the 20th 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
She writes a poem, “The Armadillo,” which she dedicates to Lowell. BISHOP For Robert Lowell: this can be the time of 12 months whilst nearly each evening the frail, unlawful fireplace balloons seem. mountaineering the mountain peak, emerging towards a saint nonetheless commemorated in those components, the paper chambers flush and fill with gentle that comes and is going, like hearts. as soon as up opposed to the sky it’s demanding to inform them from the celebs— planets, that is—the tinted ones: Venus taking place, or Mars … She will get off her planet. i'm hoping you aren’t pondering that i'm a: useless b: pissed off. I’m neither; yet I did have flu. LOWELL i'm again from a month within the sanitarium … BISHOP i decided to visit train within the States. I don’t are looking to one bit, yet desire the money. Lota hates having me go—very great of her—but after a tragic scene she is now resigned! LOWELL The day after the next day, I’ll be fifty, and Lizzie is arranging a celebration of just about thirty … BISHOP good, now i do know whilst your birthday is— Many satisfied returns. I minded being 35 a great deal, yet haven’t been capable of provide a rattling since—there are too many different issues that you can still do some anything approximately, probably. LOWELL I appear to spend my lifestyles lacking you! BISHOP good, now I’m in long island. The plan is that once Lota is definitely sufficient she's going to subscribe to me … I went out this afternoon and back noticed you taking a look very unsatisfied, this time at the big apple overview of Books … it's great to be at the similar continent with you back! came upon a beautiful word—you most likely be aware of it—ALLELOMIMETIC. (Don’t DARE use it! ) SUBTITLE: Lota commits suicide. Elizabeth Bishop seems to be up. She falls over. Lowell alternatives her up and steadies her. LOWELL It was once a pleasure being with you, even during this unhappy time—all the extra might be as the sorrow might be shared a bit. i think for Lota, notwithstanding I’ve no correct to; part of my lifestyles has fallen away, part of my existence in you. I enclose a poem to you, the outdated Castine poem i may by no means end. you could unlike it, or what it says, yet i am hoping you are going to. The degree turns into the reminiscence of sea and rock back, without actual water. It used to be a Maine fishing city— … keep in mind? BISHOP We sat on a slab of rock. LOWELL From this distance in time it kind of feels the colour of iris, rotting and turning purpler, BISHOP however it was once in simple terms the standard grey rock turning the standard eco-friendly whilst soaking wet by means of the ocean. LOWELL the ocean sopping wet the rock at our ft all day … BISHOP We wanted our souls may possibly go back like gulls to the rock. LOWELL finally, the water was once too chilly for us. the ocean recedes. BISHOP Oh, thanks; thanks very much—you can fairly by no means know the way a lot this has cheered me up and made me suppose similar to myself back. i like my poem—and you, too, of course … i've got minor questions, yet, as traditional, they must do with my George-Washington-handicap. I can’t inform a lie even for paintings, it seems that; it takes an lousy attempt or a surprising jolt to make me modify evidence. Shouldn’t it's a lobster city, instead of fishing town … He smiles. And revises, with a pencil.