Becoming a Poet

David Kalsyone, Author, David Kalstone, Author, Robert Hemenway, Editor Farrar Straus Giroux $22.5 (300p) ISBN 978-0-374-10960-8
When Elizabeth Bishop, a senior at Vassar in 1934, met Marianne Moore, she clutched the older poet's ``very generous and protective apron.'' Moore's serene ability to enter into the life of things sharpened Bishop's own observational powers. In their friendship, Bishop played the role of wayward niece to Moore's posture as wise, eccentric aunt, in a dynamic of support and disobedience that lasted until Moore's death in 1947. In that year, Bishop met Robert Lowell, embarking on a complex, sustaining friendship that began as a flirtation and survived her alcoholism and 15-year stay in Brazil and his mental breakdowns. Although an abyss might seem to separate Bishop's open-air naturalism from Lowell's narrative lyrics laden with myth and history, Kalstone (who died after completing the draft of this sensitive study) demonstrates how the two established poets opened each other to new modes of expression. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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