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Elizabeth Bishop American poet 
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Post Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Do we have poetry included in booktalk.org?
Never heard of this poet until recently and her poetry does sound interesting, especially from a period when she lived in Brazil.



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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Welcome to BT and yes, we most certainly do have a Poetry Forum - Passion for Poetry.
a-passion-for-poetry-f92.html


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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Thankyou Saffron!



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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
kirkby wrote:
Never heard of this poet until recently and her poetry does sound interesting, especially from a period when she lived in Brazil.

Do you have a favorite Bishop poem?


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Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:48 am
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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
If somebody wants to look at a certain poet, it only takes a few people to make it happen. With so much of the work of well-known poets being online, the material is right there, no need to order books or even use the libraries. So do we want to give, say, a month to Elizabeth Bishop?



Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:04 am
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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
DWill wrote:
If somebody wants to look at a certain poet, it only takes a few people to make it happen. With so much of the work of well-known poets being online, the material is right there, no need to order books or even use the libraries. So do we want to give, say, a month to Elizabeth Bishop?

Sure, let's give it a go with a month of Elizabeth Bishop. To get us started I will post a mini bio from Poets.org (a wonderful website, BTW).

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop was born in 1911 in Worcester, Massachusetts. When she was very young her father died, her mother was committed to a mental asylum, and she was sent to live with her grandparents in Nova Scotia. She earned a bachelor's degree from Vassar College in 1934.

She was independently wealthy, and from 1935 to 1937 she spent time traveling to France, Spain, North Africa, Ireland, and Italy and then settled in Key West, Florida, for four years. Her poetry is filled with descriptions of her travels and the scenery which surrounded her, as with the Florida poems in her first book of verse, North and South, published in 1946.

She was influenced by the poet Marianne Moore, who was a close friend, mentor, and stabilizing force in her life. Unlike her contemporary and good friend Robert Lowell, who wrote in the "confessional" style, Bishop's poetry avoids explicit accounts of her personal life, and focuses instead with great subtlety on her impressions of the physical world.

Her images are precise and true to life, and they reflect her own sharp wit and moral sense. She lived for many years in Brazil, communicating with friends and colleagues in America only by letter. She wrote slowly and published sparingly (her Collected Poems number barely a hundred), but the technical brilliance and formal variety of her work is astonishing. For years she was considered a "poet's poet," but with the publication of her last book, Geography III, in 1976, Bishop was finally established as a major force in contemporary literature.

She received the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring. Her Complete Poems won the National Book Award in 1970. That same year, Bishop began teaching at Harvard University, where she worked for seven years.

Elizabeth Bishop was awarded the Fellowship of The Academy of American Poets in 1964 and served as a Chancellor from 1966 to 1979. She died in Cambridge, Massachussetts, in 1979, and her stature as a major poet continues to grow through the high regard of the poets and critics who have followed her.

A Selected Bibliography

Poetry

North and South (1946)
Poems: North and South—A Cold Spring (1955)
Poems (1956)
Questions of Travel (1965)
The Ballad of the Burglar of Babylon (1968)
The Complete Poems (1969)
Poem (1973)
Geography III (1977)
The Complete Poems 1927-1979 (1983)
Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments (2006)
Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters (2006)

Now would someone like to select one of her poems to discuss?


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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
That's a good trick--read 100 of her poems, and you've read all the work of a major 20th Century poet. By way of further biography, here is "Skunk Hour," by Bishop's good friend, Robert Lowell. I'm not sure how, precisely, the poem applies to EB, but I've liked it for a while now.

Skunk Hour
By Robert Lowell

(For Elizabeth Bishop)

Nautilus Island's hermit
heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage;
her sheep still graze above the sea.
Her son's a bishop. Her farmer
is first selectman in our village;
she's in her dotage.

Thirsting for
the hierarchie privacy
of Queen Victoria's century,
she buys up all
the eyesores facing her shore,
and lets them fall.

The season's ill--
we've lost our summer millionaire,
who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean
catalogue. His nine-knot yawl
was auctioned off to lobstermen.
A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.

And now our fairy
decorator brightens his shop for fall;
his fishnet's filled with orange cork,
orange, his cobbler's bench and awl;
there is no money in his work,
he'd rather marry.

One dark night,
my Tudor Ford climbed the hill's skull;
I watched for love-cars. Lights turned down,
they lay together, hull to hull,
where the graveyard shelves on the town. . . .
My mind's not right.

A car radio bleats,
"Love, O careless Love. . . ." I hear
my ill-spirit sob in each blood cell,
as if my hand were at its throat. . . .
I myself am hell;
nobody's here--

only skunks, that search
in the moonlight for a bite to eat.
They march on their soles up Main Street:
white stripes, moonstruck eyes' red fire
under the chalk-dry and spar spire
of the Trinitarian Church.

I stand on top
of our back steps and breathe the rich air--
a mother skunk with her column of kittens swills the garbage pail.
She jabs her wedge-head in a cup
of sour cream, drops her ostrich tail,
and will not scare.



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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
DWill wrote:
That's a good trick--read 100 of her poems, and you've read all the work of a major 20th Century poet. By way of further biography, here is "Skunk Hour," by Bishop's good friend, Robert Lowell. I'm not sure how, precisely, the poem applies to EB, but I've liked it for a while now.

Hey, wasn't there a book out a year or so ago of the letters between Lowell & Bishop? Didn't you read it? I like the images in the Lowell poem, but not entirely sure I got it. Any help out there?


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Tue May 01, 2012 7:25 pm
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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Here is a link to an interview with Bishop:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/video/10

Elizabeth Bishop: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide by Harold Bloom
http://books.google.com/books?id=bbXXEn ... op&f=false

As DWill said, I think we can find just about any of Bishop's poems online. I just picked one to get us started. This is the first poem in her book Poems: North & South - A Cold Spring , pub 1955.

The Map

Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.
Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges
showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges
where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.
Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under,
drawing it unperturbed around itself?
Along the fine tan sandy shelf
is the land tugging at the sea from under?

The shadow of Newfoundland lies flat and still.
Labrador's yellow, where the moony Eskimo
has oiled it. We can stroke these lovely bays,
under a glass as if they were expected to blossom,
or as if to provide a clean cage for invisible fish.
The names of seashore towns run out to sea,
the names of cities cross the neighboring mountains
-the printer here experiencing the same excitement
as when emotion too far exceeds its cause.
These peninsulas take the water between thumb and finger
like women feeling for the smoothness of yard-goods.

Mapped waters are more quiet than the land is,
lending the land their waves' own conformation:
and Norway's hare runs south in agitation,
profiles investigate the sea, where land is.
Are they assigned, or can the countries pick their colors?
-What suits the character or the native waters best.
Topography displays no favorites; North's as near as West.
More delicate than the historians' are the map-makers' colors


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Wed May 02, 2012 5:49 am
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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Saffron wrote:
DWill wrote:
That's a good trick--read 100 of her poems, and you've read all the work of a major 20th Century poet. By way of further biography, here is "Skunk Hour," by Bishop's good friend, Robert Lowell. I'm not sure how, precisely, the poem applies to EB, but I've liked it for a while now.

Hey, wasn't there a book out a year or so ago of the letters between Lowell & Bishop? Didn't you read it? I like the images in the Lowell poem, but not entirely sure I got it. Any help out there?

Oh, boy, now you've got me worried. I remember this book, but I don't think I read it. No, I think it was when I was getting the Poetry Review, and there was an excerpt from that book. There are possibilities here for more reading.



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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
So, back and ready to go. I had to look Bishop up. And while doing that, came upon a translation into German (!!!) on crazy_chicken's website:

Die Kunst des Verlierens
Die Kunst des Verlierens studiert man täglich. So vieles scheint bloß geschaffen,
um verloren zu gehen und so ist sein Verlust nicht unerträglich.

Lerne zu verlieren, Tag für Tag.
Akzeptiere den Aufruhr um Schlüssel, die du verlierst.

Ich verlor zwei Städte, verlor zwei Flüsse, einen Kontinent.
Ich vermisse sie, aber es war nicht unerträglich.

Selbst dich zu verlieren, deine scherzhaften Worte; eine Geste, die ich liebe.
Sogar hier wird es wahr sein.

Ich werde sehen, die Kunst des Verlierens studiert man täglich.
Auch wenn es einem vorkommt als wär’s (schreibs auf!): als wär’s unerträglich.

Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

So: I really have to read her now, especially if there are people out there translating her.


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Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. --André Gide

Reading is a majority skill but a minority art. --Julian Barnes


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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
oblivion wrote:
So, back and ready to go. I had to look Bishop up. And while doing that, came upon a translation into German (!!!) on crazy_chicken's website:



Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing

Thank you for posting a poem. Well, how does it sound in German? Of course in English there are the rhymes, is there rhyming in the German translation? This is the only Bishop that I was already knew and a poem I like. It is a jaunty presentation of the idea that 1/2 of the equation of life is loss. What about that last line - the insertion of (Write it!)?

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


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Thu May 03, 2012 6:08 am
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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Saffron wrote:
oblivion wrote:
So, back and ready to go. I had to look Bishop up. And while doing that, came upon a translation into German (!!!) on crazy_chicken's website:



Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing

Thank you for posting a poem. Well, how does it sound in German? Of course in English there are the rhymes, is there rhyming in the German translation? This is the only Bishop that I was already knew and a poem I like. It is a jaunty presentation of the idea that 1/2 of the equation of life is loss. What about that last line - the insertion of (Write it!)?

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

When I heard oblivion was going to join us, I wanted to ask her if Bishop had been translated into German, and she beat me to it. I was surprised at the formal difference between the poem in English and the translation (the only aspect I can judge, unfortunately). Is it common for translators not to preserve the stanza forms and basic line length?



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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Here is my impression by Bishop's last line:
"though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster."

By the exclamation "Write it!" is a command - you have no choice, accept loss - there is no life without loss.


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Thu May 03, 2012 6:49 am
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Post Re: Elizabeth Bishop American poet
Saffron wrote:
DWill wrote:
That's a good trick--read 100 of her poems, and you've read all the work of a major 20th Century poet. By way of further biography, here is "Skunk Hour," by Bishop's good friend, Robert Lowell. I'm not sure how, precisely, the poem applies to EB, but I've liked it for a while now.

Hey, wasn't there a book out a year or so ago of the letters between Lowell & Bishop? Didn't you read it? I like the images in the Lowell poem, but not entirely sure I got it. Any help out there?

I'm not too sure I can explain the poem, since what I like most about it is its rhyme and rhythms, the images, and the eeriness of the ending. I like the frank insanity of the speaker, too ("my mind's not right"), and the echo of Milton's Satan ("Myself am Hell"). I don't suppose the hermit heiress is EB, but then again, her son's a bishop and EB would have the cash to buy up all these properties. We know exactly what Lowell means by the LL Bean Millioniaire. I suppose that all the human silliness and the weird permutations that only our human minds can create, are in contrast to the instinctual naturalness of the skunk family. Maybe as we read more of Bishop we'll see why Lowell dedicated the poem to her. By the way, Bishop returned the favor, dedicating "Armadillo," a poem that seems at least as good as "Skunk Hour," to Lowell.



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