A century after Rilke wrote his famous letters to Franz Kappus, the literary-epistle game has changed. We want more than a holding-forth by the master alone; how about hearing from the tenderfoot, too?
Letters to Poets, a remarkable anthology of correspondence by 28 writers, gives us both sides of the conversation. These letters between emerging and established poets are non-hierarchical exchanges, debates, ruminations on all kinds of topics—fear, love, ambition, jazz, feminist poetics, writer’s block, academia, the Bush administration.
Editors Jennifer Firestone and Dana Teen Lomax have gathered smart, revealing letters from a wide-ranging crew of poet-pairs, including Judith Goldman & Leslie Scalapino, Brenda Coultas & Victor Hernández Cruz, Anselm Berrigan & John Yau, Truong Tran & Wanda Coleman, and Karen Weiser & Anne Waldman.
The resulting volume is a richly tangled map of the interior—a rare chance to climb inside writers’ heads and listen.