To mark Robert Lowell’s centenary, we share this recording of him reading with Adrienne Rich on April 22, 1968. The pair of poets had become friends in the late 1950s and often exchanged letters. Here is an excerpt from a letter that Lowell wrote to Rich in June 1964:
“I was thinking of something more personal yesterday as we sat at coffee, chatting about various people. . . . As we grow older, moments of pause come and we say, ‘This too is part of it, life is inescapably this too;’ and then somehow we feel it’s all rich and merciful. . . . Well, we are always failing and succeeding in different ways, and we are all constantly finding and not finding courses that will do for us. We walk our own roads more or less, but we all walk, make our different lines on the same surface. Yesterday I felt something of this shared by us, and something was lived together without invasion.