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[Letters and postcards from Elizabeth Bishop to Tamara Turner, with later correspondence between Turner and Robert Giroux]
Seattle, London, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco & New York: 1966-1989. Three single-page letters and two postcards from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop to lesbian activist Tamara Turner, discussing professional and personal life; these are accompanied by two letters from publisher Robert Giroux to Turner discussing the provision of Turner's letters to a collection of Bishop's writings, and a note from Giroux's assistant to Turner. All are accompanied by the original envelopes with canceled stamps, mostly hand-addressed, with photocopies paperclipped to the originals. Very good, with expected wear and tearing to the envelopes. Bishop was on the faculty of the University of Washington in the 1960s where she met and befriended Tamara Turner, who later became a member of the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women and pressed those groups to become involved in the struggle for LGBTQ rights. After Bishop left the University for Harvard, then London and back to Rio (she spent 17 years in Brazil where she met her life-partner Lota), the two corresponded by telephone, letters and postcards. In 1989 Turner heard that Robert Giroux, publisher at FS & G and onetime publisher of Bishop's books at Harcourt, was planning a collection of the poet's correspondence ("One Art: Letters of Elizabeth Bishop"). Turner wrote to Giroux offering her collection of letters and postcards (which turned out to be far fewer than she recalled). These were accepted and sent in photocopy to the publisher. Tamara is mentioned in the acknowledgments of the book, which was published in 1994. The items included here are the originals along with the photocopies sent to Giroux and two photocopies of Turner's original correspondence with the publisher. The earliest correspondence is a postcard from London dated November 9, 1966 and is handwritten on a card that is a facsimile of Shelley's original draft of "Ode to the West Wind" which Bishop lightly derides and then goes on to recommend John Lennon's books which she has been reading. Next is another postcard, this from Rio dated January 18, 1967 with a typed message about the aborted trip to England and Europe that was cut short due to Lota's illness. This also has a short handwritten message surrounding the typed text and signed by Bishop. The third item is dated February 8, 1968 and is typewritten, as Bishop had broken her wrist. It is signed in a "decrepit" signature (her words) In an envelope mailed from her temporary address in San Francisco. The fourth item is a handwritten letter signed by Bishop as Elizabeth written on University Tower Hotel, Seattle letterhead; it includes the original pages of introductory notes written by the President of the University of Washington used to introduce her at the 11th Anniversary Theodore Roethke Poetry Reading. Her annotations and commentary are quite humorous. The fifth and final letter from Bishop to Turner is another postcard of the Boston historical site Faneuil Hall dated June 20, 1973. It is typed and signed in ink. She speaks of reading Chekhov's letters and tells of a footnote that refers to the name "Tamara." She also speaks of the oppressive heat and plans to attend a concert by Ella Fitzgerald at a racetrack. There are two typed letters signed from Giroux to Tamara Turner in original envelopes thanking her for the access to the correspondence and her own two letters to him containing memories of her friendship with the poet. Those letters are represented in photocopy. The final piece is a short note from Giroux's assistant apologizing that he is away and requesting copies of the correspondence to be considered for the planned book. Finally a b&w postcard photo of Bishop in Rio.
      [Bookseller: Bolerium Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2017-07-18           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    


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