Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not that I read poetry or anything

The NYT Book Review has a great piece on the correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Frank Bidart used to speak very casually about them in class, but I didn't realize quite how close the three of them were:

"Lowell and Bishop more or less adopt the younger poet Frank Bidart, who catered to Lowell during his endless revisions..and proved Johnny-on-the-spot after Bishop moved to Boston. If at times the poets treated him as a mere factotum, Bidart served as the surrogate son they could gossip about and fuss over."

It's a little difficult to imagine - I'm trying to picture Lowell pinching Frank's cheek - but pretty neat nonetheless.


nicole m therese said...

If memory serves, Frank became the keeper of Bishop's letters and other personal affects after she died. He teaches a class on them sometimes. There are also excerpts from their letters in which one says to the other "Thank you for sending Frank to me. He's awfully peculiar, isn't he?"

dethbakin said...

Nicole is right; he did inherit Bishop's library! I took a contemporary American poetry class with him where we read Bishop and Lowell, among others. He did always seem to understate his relationship with them, but it was clear at the time that it was an understatement, given his inheritance.