Words in air

The complete correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell


UVª Library 2011

  • p. 410

But the ignorance of any American poets under fifty is pretty general. — That TIME has probably helped quite a bit! — I know almost no one literary and almost no one knows of me, and I think they think if I were any good I’d be at home, anyway! It will be very different for someone coming officially, like you. Also you’re a MAN. Here a lady-poet is a male poet’s mistress, as a rule, and he writes her poems for her. — With one exception — Cecilia Meireles, who is old-fashioned, but quite good, rather like the earlier Louise Bogan, at her best.

They will show you something god-awful called Neo-Concretionism — pure 1920’s Parisian — but I’ve already told you about that, I think. That’s the trouble — it is SO provincial the young keep going Louise Bogan, at her best.  off on useless tangents and re-discoveries — and the old get spoiled awfully easily. I haven’t been to Recife or Bahia — oh dear — I heard recently that the hotel in Bahia was very bad. Do be careful of that exotic cooking. João Cabral de Melo (Neto just means grandson, or 3rd) comes from Recife, (Bandeira, too — long ago) and one good artist I’m going to invite to meet you — Aloisio Magalhães. They might be there when you’re there, or here. Aloisio is one of the few really bright people I know, to whom we can talk the way we’d talk in NY. In general it is pretty hard going, as I’m afraid you’ll find.

Aloisio Magalhães was a cousin of João Cabral de Melo Neto.