Oh, how they drank! This massive, meticulously annotated volume of the complete correspondence between the poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell throws open a window on the post-war literary past. From their meeting in Manhattan in 1947 until his sudden death in New York in 1977, these two American poets wrote copiously to each other of not only poetry but grant-hunting, borrowing flats, seeking psychotherapy and constantly battling with the bottle.
Their work was dissimilar but each admired the other's. Lowell won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1946 (for Lord Weary's Castle), while Bishop had to wait ten more years to win hers (for North and South: A Cold Spring). For readers of the pair's poetry (perhaps not a large