Bishop to Lowell: “Please, please don’t talk about old age so much, my dear old friend! You are giving me the creeps.”

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Finding Wisdom in the Letters of Aging Writers: The epistolary collections of authors such as Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, and Elizabeth Bishop suggest that old-fashioned communication can offer invaluable insight into the process of growing older. – Robert Fay – The Atlantic – December 11, 2016

“In 1975, a 63-year-old Elizabeth Bishop wrote to her long-time friend and fellow poet Robert Lowell, who was then 58 and just two years from his death. ‘I’m going to be very impertinent and aggressive,’ she wrote. ‘Please, please don’t talk about old age so much, my dear old friend! You are giving me the creeps.’ In many ways, Bishop’s admonition of Lowell is the perfect expression of a particular antagonism toward the changes and challenges brought on by aging. This discomfort isn’t simply garden-variety fear, or even denial, but an insurgency-like resistance.”

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