North & South • Questions of Travel • The Complete Poems • Geography III
Letter to Anne Stevenson, January 8, 1964Elizabeth Bishop
I admire both Hemingway & Lawrence—along with others—for living in the real world and knowing how to do things. I am a little vain of my own ability to do things, perhaps,—or perhaps I have just been lucky in my interests, experiences, and friends. (And perhaps on the other hand I have just dissipated my energies.) But I’m often thunderstruck by the helplessness, ignorance, ghastly taste, lack of worldly knowledge, and lack of observation of writers who are much more talented than I am . . . Lack of observation seems to me one of the cardinal sins, responsible for so much cruelty, ugliness, dullness, bad manners—and general unhappiness, too.