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Rio de Janerio, November 11th, 1963

Dear May:

Take this picture (it’s one they used in that book, isn’t it?) and hold it in your left hand out in front of your nose as far as you can. Then put your right hand out behind you as far as you can and up at the steep angle and Petropolis will be more or less in the palm of your right hand — about 50 miles to the north—west of this picture, that is — this is looking south to south—east… (Perhaps you need an atlas for Christmas.) We are almost 3,000 feet above sea—level there, too. X marks where I am at the moment, on the 11th floor of the apartment house in Leme — north end of Co apacabana beach — and Leme means "rudder" (as I think I’ve said before) from the shape of that weird hill in the foreground, which I see looking out the window here — although it’s a rainy day, a huge sea running; it sounds like trains alongside. — The highest peak of all in this picture is the "Gavea" or Crows Nest — I thought it meant.; Darwin (see my last letter) called it "Mizzen Mast" or something — A is where I go swimming usually, around 7:30 every morning these days —

Maybe a letter got lost — or you couldn’t read it — They use their little nest all the time now — it’s woven straw bought already made) — and they sleep in it, like most birds — and often sit in it, very cosy, side by side, just the tiny scarlet beaks and bright eyes peering out. I am so crazy about them I am about to get a much bigger cage and two or three more "couples" — At night the cage looks empty and I have a moment’s fright — then I see the little straw nest moving softly. (It’s about as big as your fist, with an opening about one and a half inches wide, on the side) Now I think I have really exhausted that subject…

I hope you got the letter about the de luxe cheese grater! — I suppose I could have had them send it straight to Betty T’s APO number — but it is better to wait until she gets back, the 26th, and I am sure the number hasn’t been changed. A friend is going up the end of this week and I’m snding along another small ornithological gift — She’ll either mail it to you or bring it to you — her name is Stella Batista Pererira (Baptist Peartree…) going up for the U N for a amonth — she’s been in the Brazilian State Dept many years — Very vague but awfully nice.

Thank you for the wonderful batch of clippings, etc. Rorem had sent me a Photostat of his piece on Cocteau — but so badly made I couldn’t read much of it. Yes, I see photostating machines are a part of U S life now —

I’ll answer your letter properly later. I want to get something in the mail today. I think it is wonderful about Smith and the $500. —that’s a lot— Did you get to the art gallery there? They have some fine pictures, including one of my favorite Picasso cubist ones — "The Table" —

Flavio, L’s bright nephew, says that "Pops in Portugese" is too popular — he’s very scornful — If and when he gets to N.Y. he’ll bring you some really good "Bossa Nova" discos. (He is very eager to meet you!) Well the D.Hall just turned out to be Cal’s "Skunk Hour" all over again — rather pathetic of me! Oh heavens no — read the book and you’ll see I’m thankful not to be in "The Group."! My poor friends… (I8m just skimming your letter. Oh the Cocteau drawing is the cover, I think, for the music — Ned set "Visits to St. Elizabeth’s" to music about 3 years ago — I hope the disco disco of that will come soon — I’ve never properly hear it, of course — k just picked out the very difficult music on the piano —

I’ve spent most of the week on a couple of translations — and as I always say — never again — poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade — one for the N.Y Review. I don’t approve a bit, really — but have picked only those that do seem o go into English fairly well. He’s a good, peculiar, dry poet — and too bad he’s never been heard of outside Brazil. — So shy we never meet — transact everything by letter—

I’ll have to study Marianne’s poem some more. But isn’t she wonderful — 76 or 77 this month —

I hope they send me that anthology — no I guess I don’t — except for all the new people — anthologies do pile up so and I’m running out of space!

Well — the Ford people asked me, I guess, if I wanted to ask for one of the theatrical things — that seemed to be the idea. But I don’t want anything until I am free to go somewhere — I’m still saving up most of the Chapelbrook until Lota can go with me —

Here’s the sun — what a sea — mist in both directions and five old helicopters lumbering about, in and out of it — army helicopters — I hope to God they’re not looking for anything special like a fisherman —

Thank you for everything — and write when you can — lots of love, Elizabeth
There is an image of the beach and skyline of Rio attached to this letter.

] "Mark just where you live in Petropolis — can you? I’ve always thought of it as that round hill in foreground — but that’s probably wrong.

The printed capture of the picture reads as follows: The blue harbor, the white beach and buildings, the backdrop of mountains say this is unmistakably Rio

Link to image of page one of this letter.
Link to image of page two of this letter.
Link to image of Rio mentioned in letter.