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Elizabeth Bishop

Joseph Breitenbach
Elizabeth Bishop
 
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Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
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Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Books by thisAuthor
  • Words in Air

    Words in Air
    The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth...
    Robert Lowell once remarked in a letter to Elizabeth Bishop that “you ha[ve] always been my favorite poet and favorite friend.” The feeling was mutual. Bishop said that conversation with Lowell left her feeling “picked up again to the proper table-land of poetry,” and she once begged him, “Please never stop writing me letters—they always manage to make me feel like my higher self (I’ve been re-reading Emerson) for several days.” Neither ever stopped writing letters, from their first meeting in 1947 when both were young, newly launched poets until Lowell’s death in 1977. The substantial, revealing—and often very funny—interchange that they produced stands as a remarkable collective achievement, notable for its sustained conversational brilliance of style, its wealth of literary history, its incisive snapshots and portraits of people and places, and its delicious literary gossip, as well as for the window it opens into the unfolding human and artistic drama of two of America’s most beloved and influential poets.

    Geography III

    Geography III
    Poems
    Whether writing about waiting as a child in a dentist's office, viewing a city from a plane high above, or losing items ranging from door keys to one's lover in the masterfully restrained "One Art," Elizabeth Bishop somehow conveyed both large and small emotional truths in language of stunning exactitude and even more astonishing resonance. As John Ashbery has written, "The private self . . . melts imperceptibly into the large utterance, the grandeur of poetry, which, because it remains rooted in everyday particulars, never sounds 'grand,' but is as quietly convincing as everyday speech."

    The Collected Prose

    The Collected Prose
    Presented in two sections, "Memory: Persons and Places" and "Stories," this book offers the collected prose writings of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), one of America's most celebrated and admired poets. The selections are arranged not by date of compostion, but in biographical order, such that reading this volume greatly enriches one's understanding of Bishop's life--and thus her poetry as well. "Bishop's admirers will want to consult her Collected Prose for the light it sheds on her poetry," as David Lehman wrote in Newsweek. "They will discover, however, that it is more than just a handsome companion volume to [her] Complete Poems. . . . Bishop's clean, limpid prose makes her stories and memoirs a delight to read. . . . One regrets only that this volume cannot be added to in years to come."

    Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box

    Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box
    Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments
    From the mid-1930s to 1978 Elizabeth Bishop published some ninety poems and thirty translations. Yet her notebooks reveal that she embarked upon many more compositions, some existing in only fragmentary form and some embodied in extensive drafts. Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box presents, alongside facsimiles of many notebook pages from which they are drawn, poems Bishop began soon after college, reflecting her passion for Elizabethan verse and surrealist technique; love poems and dream fragments from the 1940s; poems about her Canadian childhood; and many other works that heretofore have been quoted almost exclusively in biographical and critical studies. This revelatory and moving selection brings us into the poet's laboratory, showing us the initial provocative images that moved Bishop to begin a poem, illustrating terrain unexplored in the work published during her lifetime. Editor Alice Quinn has also mined the Bishop archives for rich tangential material that illuminates the poet's sources and intentions.

  • One Art

    One Art
    Letters
    From several thousand letters, written over fifty years - from 1928, when she was seventeen, to the day of her death, in Boston in 1979 - Robert Giroux has selected over five hundred and has written a detailed and informative introduction. One Art takes us behind Bishop's formal sophistication and reserve, displaying to the full the gift for friendship, the striving for perfection, and the passionate, questing, rigorous spirit that made her a great poet.

    Poems

    Poems
    A Boston Globe Best Poetry Book of 2011 This is the definitive edition of the work of one of America’s greatest poets, increasingly recognized as one of the greatest English-language poets of the twentieth century, loved by readers and poets alike. Bishop’s poems combine humor and sadness, pain and acceptance, and observe nature and lives in perfect miniaturist close-up. The themes central to her poetry are geography and landscape—from New England, where she grew up, to Brazil and Florida, where she later lived—human connection with the natural world, questions of knowledge and perception, and the ability or inability of form to control chaos. This new edition offers readers the opportunity to take in, entire, one of the great careers in twentiethcentury poetry.

    Exchanging Hats

    Exchanging Hats
    Paintings
    When the distinguished art critic Meyer Schapiro said that Elizabeth Bishop “writes poems with a painter’s eye,” Bishop was “very flattered: I’d love to be a painter.” The fact is—though not many knew it—she painted throughout her life, as this handsome book, reproducing in full color forty of her works, demonstrates. The paintings were tracked down, identified, and collected by the poet and art writer William Benton, who arranged the first exhibit of Bishop’s artwork (twenty-seven pieces) in January 1993 at the East Martello Tower Museum as part of the Key West Literary Seminar on Bishop’s writing. Probably the best-known paintings are the three or four that decorated the dust jackets of earlier editions of her books, but most of her artwork has never been reproduced. Some, like E. Bishop’s Patented Slot-Machine, come as a total surprise. William Benton gives the provenance, dimensions, and (where possible) the date of each work. In the second half of the book, he also cites many painterly passages from Bishop’s writing. Typically, after admitting that occasionally she painted “a small gouache or watercolor,” Bishop asserted: “They are Not Art—NOT AT ALL.” William Benton concludes, “They are, though.” In paperback for the first time since its publication, this edition of Exchanging Hats is sure to generate a renewed appreciation for this multi-talented artist.  

    Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker

    Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker
    The Complete Correspondence
    I sort of see you surrounded with fine-tooth combs, sandpaper, nail files, pots of varnish, etc.—with heaps of used commas and semicolons handy, and little useless phrases taken out of their contexts and dying all over the floor,” Elizabeth Bishop said upon learning a friend landed a job at The New Yorker in the early 1950s. From 1933 until her death in 1979, Bishop published the vast majority of her poems in the magazine’s pages. During those forty years, hundreds of letters passed between Bishop and her editors, Charles Pearce, Katharine White, and Howard Moss. In these letters Bishop discussed the ideas and inspiration for her poems and shared news about her travels, while her editors offered support, commentary, and friendship. Their correspondence provides an unparalleled look into Bishop’s writing process, the relationship between a poet and her editors, the internal workings of The New Yorker, and the process of publishing a poem, giving us a rare glimpse into the artistic development of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets.

  • The Diary of "Helena Morley"

    The Diary of "Helena Morley"
    In 1952, soon after her arrival in Brazil, Elizabeth Bishop asked her new Brazilian friends which of their country's books she should read. They recommended Minha Vida de Menina - a diary kept by a young girl who lived in a mining town at the end of the nineteenth century. As a labor of love, Elizabeth Bishop devoted three years to translating the diary, a delightful account of a young girl's life in Brazil.

    Prose

    Prose
    Elizabeth Bishop’s prose is not nearly as well known as her poetry, but she was a dazzling and compelling prose writer too, as the publication of her letters has shown. Her stories are often on the borderline of memoir, and vice versa. From her college days, she could find the most astonishing yet thoroughly apt metaphors to illuminate her ideas. This volume—edited by the poet, Pulitzer Prize–winning critic, and Bishop scholar Lloyd Schwartz—includes virtually all her published shorter prose pieces and a number of prose works not published until after her death. Here are her famous as well as her lesser-known stories, crucial memoirs, literary and travel essays, book reviews, and—for the first time—her original draft of Brazil, the Time/Life volume she repudiated in its published version, and the correspondence between Bishop and the poet Anne Stevenson, the author of the first book-length volume devoted to Bishop.

    An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Poetry

    An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Poetry
    A 25th anniversary edition of a book cited by Modern Language Journal as "notable for the original and interesting choice of poems and for the accuracy and poetic quality of the translations." Work by 14 Brazilian poets, including the late Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, is presented en face with translations by Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Ashley Brown, Jane Cooper, Richard Eberhart, Barbara Howes, June Jordan, Galway Kinnell, Jean Longland, James Merrill, W. S. Merwin, Louis Simpson, Mark Strand, Jean Valentine, Richard Wilbur, and James Wright. Selected by Books for College Libraries (1988).

    Selected Poetry, 1937-1990

    Selected Poetry, 1937-1990
    This bilingual anthology brings together a representative selection from more than a half century of this distinguished Brazilian poet's lifetime work. Along with previously translated poems are many others in English for the first time. The remarkable group of poets and translators includes Elizabeth Bishop, Alastair Reid, Galway Kinnell, Louis Simpson, and W. S. Merwin.

  • A Draft of Shadows and Other Poems

    A Draft of Shadows and Other Poems

    Selected Poems of Octavio Paz

    Selected Poems of Octavio Paz

    The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz

    The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz
    1957-1987
    Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz is incontestably Latin America's foremost living poet.

    Dear Elizabeth

    Dear Elizabeth
    Five Poems and Three Letters to Elizabeth Bishop

  • A Mirror on Which to Dwell

    A Mirror on Which to Dwell
    Full Score
    For Soprano and Chamber Orchestra. Six poems by Elizabeth Bishop.

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