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Elizabeth Bishop - book author

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and writer from Worcester, Massachusetts. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1956. and a National Book Award Winner for Poetry in 1970. She is considered one of the most important and distinguished American poets of the 20th century.

Elizabeth Bishop is the author of books: The Complete Poems 1927-1979, Geography III, One Art, Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters, Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, The Collected Prose, Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments, North and South, Questions of Travel, Cat Poems

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01
Elizabeth Bishop was vehement about her art--a perfectionist who didn't want to be seen as a "woman poet." In 1977, two years before her death she wrote, "art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc., into two sexes is to emphasize values in them that are not art." She also deeply distrusted the dominant mode of modern poetry, one practiced with such detached passion by her friend Robert Lowell, the confessional.

Bishop was unforgiving of fashion and limited ways of seeing and feeling, but cast an even more trenchant eye on her own work. One wishes this volume were thicker, though the perfections within mark the rightness of her approach. The poems are sublimely controlled, fraught with word play, fierce moral vision (see her caustic ballad on Ezra Pound, "Visits to St. Elizabeths"), and reticence. From the surreal sorrow of the early "Man-Moth" (leaping off from a typo she had come across for "mammoth"), about a lonely monster who rarely emerges from "the pale subways of cement he calls his home," to the beauty of her villanelle "One Art" (with its repeated "the art of losing isn't hard to master"), the poet wittily explores distance and desolation, separation and sorrow.

02
Geography III, Bishop's final book of poems, first appeared in 1976. It contains such masterpieces as "In the Waiting Room," "The Moose," and "One Art."
03
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.
04
Robert Giroux and Lloyd Schwartz, editors James Merrill described Elizabeth Bishop's poems as "more wryly radiant, more touching, more unaffectedly intelligent than any written in our lifetime" and called her "our greatest national treasure." Robert Lowell said, "I enjoy her poems more than anybody else's." Long before a wider public was aware of Bishop's work, her fellow poets expressed astonished admiration of her formal rigor, fiercely observant eye, emotional intimacy, and sometimes eccentric flights of imagination. Today she is recognized as one of America's great poets of the 20th century. This unprecedented collection offers a full-scale presentation of a writer of startling originality, at once passionate and reticent, adventurous and perfectionist. It presents all the poetry that Bishop published in her lifetime, in such classic volumes as "North & South," "A Cold Spring," "Questions of Travel," and "Geography III." In addition it contains an extensive selection of un_published poems and drafts of poems (several not previously collected), as well as all her published poetic translations, ranging from a chorus from Aristophanes' The Birds to versions of Brazilian sambas. "Poems, Prose, and Letters" brings together as well most of her published prose writings, including stories; reminiscences; travel writing about the places (Nova Scotia, Florida, Brazil) that so profoundly marked her poetry; and literary essays and statements, including a number of pieces published here for the first time. The book is rounded out with a selection of Bishop's irresistibly engaging and self-revelatory letters. Of the 53 letters included here, written between 1933 and 1979, a considerable number are printed for the first time, and all are presented in their entirety. Their recipients include Robert Lowell, Marianne Moore, Randall Jarrell, Anne Stevenson, May Swenson, and Carlos Drummond de Andrade.
05
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.
06
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."
07
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.
09
The publication of this book is a literary event. It is Miss Bishop's first volume of verse since Poems, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1955.  This new collection consists of two parts. Under the general heading "Brazil" are grouped eleven poems including "Manuelzinho," "The Armadillo," "Twelfth Morning, or What You Will," "The Riverman," "Brazil, January 1, 1502" and the title poem. The second section, entitled "Elsewhere," includes others "First Death in Nova Scotia," "Manners," "Sandpiper," "From Trollope's Journal," and "Visits to St. Elizabeths." In addition to the poems there is an extraordinary story of a Nova Scotia childhood, "In the Village." Robert Lowell has recently written, "I am sure no living poet is as curious and observant as Miss Bishop. What cuts so deep is that each poem is inspired by her own tone, a tone of large, grave tenderness and sorrowing amusement. She is too sure of herself for empty mastery and breezy plagiarism, too interested for confession and musical monotony, too powerful for mismanaged fire, and too civilized for idiosyncratic incoherence. She has a humorous, commanding genius for picking up the unnoticed, now making something sprightly and right, and now a great monument. Once her poems, each shining, were too few. Now they are many. When we read her, we enter the classical serenity of a new country."
10
You Know How a Cat

will bring a mouse it has
caught and lay it at your

feet so each morning I
bring you a poem that

I've written when I woke
up in the night as my tribute

to your beauty &
a promise of my love.

-James Laughlin

Across the ages, cats have provided their adopted humans with companionship, affection, mystery, and innumerable metaphors.
Cats raise a mirror up to their beholders; cats endlessly captivate and hypnotise, frustrate and delight. To poets, in particular, these enigmatic creatures are the most delightful and beguiling of muses, as they purr, prowl, hunt, play, meow, and nap, often oblivious to their so-called masters. Cat Poems offers a litter of odes to our beloved felines by some of the greatest poets of all time.