Just got The Letters of Robert Lowell, a man about whom I know precious little except that he wrote some good poems and appeared as a character of sorts in Mailer's The Armies of the Night. I was thumbing through it and a lot of the letters seemed absolutely beautiful and stunning, and had that great rolling easy feel you get from great correspondents who are alive to every feeling, every sensation. Letter-writing has a way of ordering your thoughts in a way straight writing never does. I think sometimes I write more cogent reviews in e-mail than anywhere else.
There's a particularly nice passage Lowell has on the death of his friend Flannery O'Connor that I'll post later.