Love Letters by Famous Writers


Why does poetry exist? What is it about human emotion that pushes us past all sense and awareness of self to the point that we’ve cultivated an entire art out of being openly vulnerable? What do we get in return out of letting others watch us bleed, and is it ever truly worth the mess? To quote a movie that tears me to pieces every time, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” (Dead Poets Society) Ahhh, love. Rarely do we get to examine it straight on, or hear it spoken clearly. Here’s a list of tortured, obsessive, and passionate love letters by famous writers.



JACK KEROUAC TO EDIE KEROUAC PARKER (1957)

“We were never really born, we will never really die. […] The world you see is just a movie in your mind. Rocks don’t see it. Bless and sit down. Forgive and forget. Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now. That’s the story. That’s the message.”



by Martin Munkácsi, Mexico

FRIDA KAHLO TO DIEGO RIVERA (1933)

“Nothing compares to your hands, nothing like the green-gold of your eyes. My body is filled with you for days and days. You are the mirror of the night. the violent flash of lightning. The dampness of the earth. The hollow of your armpits is my shelter. My fingers touch your blood.”


GUSTAVE FLAUBERT TO LOUISE COLET (1846)

“I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge yu [sic] with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports… When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them.”



© Princeton University Library

ZELDA FITZGERALD TO F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1919)

“…I want to love first, and live incidentally […] Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered — and I was delivered to you — to be worn — I want you to wear me, like a watch — charm or a buttonhole bouquet — to the world.”


FRANZ KAFKA TO MILENA JESENSKA (1919)

“…you are the knife I turn inside myself, this is love. This, my dear, is love.”



© National Library of New Zealand

KATHERINE MANSFIELD TO JOHN MIDDLETON MURRY (1917)

“Last night, there was a moment before you got into bed. You stood, quite naked, bending forward a little, talking. It was only for an instant. I saw you — I loved you so, loved your body with such tenderness, […] every inch of you is so precious to me — your soft shoulders — your creamy warm skin, your ears cold like shells are cold — your long legs and your feet that I love to clasp with my feet — the feeling of your belly — and your thin young back. Just below that bone that sticks out at the back of your neck you have a little mole.”



Contributing Editor

Anita Ofokansi is a writer from Kansas City. She dabbles mostly in poetry and is working on her first collection. Her work has been featured in several publications, including Winter Tangerine Magazine and Whispering Prairie Press. When she is not writing, Anita loves to waste her time blank-faced in front of her laptop, or deciding which tattoos and piercings will make her parents cry the least. She dreams of one day writing and directing movies.