"There's no one else I can quite talk to with confidence and abandon and delicacy," Lowell wrote. "I think of you daily and feel anxious lest we lose our old backward and forward flow that always seems to open me up and bring color and peace." Bishop expressed a similar indebtedness: "Dearest Cal," she wrote. "Please never stop writing me letters - they always manage to make me feel like my higher self." During a dark time in her life, she wrote to him, she had felt "just the faintest glimmer" that she would "get out of this somehow, alive. Meanwhile - your letter has helped tremendously - like being handed a lantern, or a spiked walking stick." They handed off lanterns for twenty-five years.
Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire - Kay Redfield Jamison