Myra here.

I am an avid follower of Brainpickings.org, and so when I read a love letter written by Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville-West as culled from this collection here, I immediately hunted down the book, and I am glad to find it at the Jurong Regional Public Library.


The editor, David H. Lowenherz divided the letters into six categories in all: Tender Love where one can read loveletters written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his wife Constance Mozart, Kahlil Gibran to Mary Haskell among others. Crazy For You has letters written by Ernest Hemingway to Mary Welsh, Zelda Fitzgerald to her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the one that captured my interest – the exchange of love missives between Vita Sackville-West and Viriginia Woolf. One of my favourites in this category though is the poem written by Marc Chagall, Russian Born French artist to his wife Bella Chagall. Like what I usually do, I take a picture of the page and edit it using an iPhone app. This is found in page 58.


Painful Separations feature letters from those who are separated by virtue of chance and circumstance, so there is a great deal of longing seen in the letters as seen in Franz Kafka’s letter to Felice Bauer and Napoleon Bonaparte’s missive to Josephine Bonaparte. In Fire and Ice, one is able to witness anger and bitterness, yet a seeming gravitational-pull to the other as well. Here one can read a letter by Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller, Anne Sexton to Philip Legler with the classic lines: “You’re sick. You need help…” Forbidden Love features love letters which are exactly about illicit romances and forbidden relationships. Includes letters written by Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I to Thomas Seymour, and the untoward predilections of Lewis Carroll towards young girls as seen in his letter to Clara H. Cunnynghame.

Two of my other favourites though were found in Passionate Prose, where the voyeur-reader gets to read the loveletters of Oscar Wilde to Constance Lloyd, President Ronald Reagan to his wife Nancy Reagan. These two are my personal favourites:

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s letter to his Immortal Beloved – who this is remains a mystery until now.


Frida Kahlo’s love letter to Diego Rivera.


How about you, dear friends, which love letter from famous people do you love the most?

The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time edited by David H. Lowenherz. A Byron Preiss Book, 2002. Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.



Reading Challenge Update: 27 (25)

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “[Valentine Week 2014] Of Love Letters and Poetry

  1. Catherine Johnson

    Wow a book with all those personal letters in. That’s an impressive collection. We can such a different side to a very public figure. Thanks, Myra!


  2. This looks like a wonderful book, Myra! Thanks so much for sharing. How appropriate for Valentine’s Day!


  3. Wow, it feels somehow like spying to read these. Fascinating, Myra. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Beautiful book, Myra. Wow-all that romance and deep feeling. Nice to think that the letters are shared!


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