Elizabeth Bishop’s Personal Poetry

Elizabeth Bishop has often been linked to the poetical canon of the ‘confessional poets’ of the 1960’s and 70’s. Confessional poetry focused largely on the poet, exposing his/her insecurities and personal vulnerabilities. Bishop, however, was better known for her insistence on remaining outside of this movement. To be called a confessional poet “would have horrified … Read moreElizabeth Bishop’s Personal Poetry

Explication of Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Shampoo”

In her affectionate verse “The Shampoo”, Elizabeth Bishop addresses her lesbian partner Lota, whose great black tresses have begun to bear the signs of grey aging. Her tone is tender and her language contemplative—she marvels at the marks of age with a sigh, not a scowl. Bishop infuses the poem with imagery of lichens and … Read moreExplication of Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Shampoo”

Unveiling Costumes: The Feminine Body in Elizabeth Bishop’s “Pink Dog”

Elizabeth BishopPink Dog (Rio de Janeiro) The sun is blazing and the sky is blue. Umbrellas clothe the beach in every hue. Naked, you trot across the avenue. Oh, never have I seen a dog so bare! Naked and pink, without a single hair… Startled, the passersby draw back and stare. Of course they’re mortally … Read moreUnveiling Costumes: The Feminine Body in Elizabeth Bishop’s “Pink Dog”

Landscape in Elizabeth Bishop’s “Cape Breton”

In “Cape Breton,” Elizabeth Bishop describes a landscape for the rigid cliffs and water that compose it, but also for its representation on a grander scale. The landscape is a representation of the peaceful world and how it is inevitably interrupted by human presence, affecting its ability to be natural. To Bishop, the landscape is … Read moreLandscape in Elizabeth Bishop’s “Cape Breton”

Powerfully Subdued: An Analysis of the Romantic View of Nature in “The Fish”

Nature often horrifies and frightens us. Whether it is a snake that has the potential to kill with one bite or a raging flood that can destroy an entire town in a matter of minutes, the natural world often causes us to cower in sight of its abilities. However, what we truly fear is not … Read morePowerfully Subdued: An Analysis of the Romantic View of Nature in “The Fish”

Bishop and Moore: An Exploration of Magic Realism

In The Golden Bough, Sir James George Frazer argues that contemporary science, while evolving from magical and religious attempts to understand and control the natural world, eclipses these frameworks[1]. To Frazer “magic” in the 20th century “is a spurious system of natural law as well as a fallacious guide of conduct; it is a false … Read moreBishop and Moore: An Exploration of Magic Realism

Waiting for Adulthood: Aging in “In the Waiting Room” and “At the Fishhouses”

Elizabeth Bishop ends her famous poem “One Art” with the lines, “It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master / though it may look like… disaster.” Although “One Art” lists many literal and symbolic forms of loss, the one that becomes the most prominent in Bishop’s poetry is the loss of time. … Read moreWaiting for Adulthood: Aging in “In the Waiting Room” and “At the Fishhouses”

Fading in the Anthropocene

In their poems “At the Fishhouses” and “For the Union Dead”, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell respectively examine the landscapes of their childhoods as a means of determining what is lost in mankind’s strives towards modernity and what survives. Both poets utilize strong imagery to depict their worn locales and each narrator retains a childlike … Read moreFading in the Anthropocene

“First Death in Nova Scotia”: A Reading of Elizabeth Bishop

There are many things that children do not understand. Their lack of experience makes them ignorant to what is happening around them, and even oblivious to the presence of death. When someone a child knows dies, it is a really rough transition: Where did he go? Am I not going to be able to see … Read more“First Death in Nova Scotia”: A Reading of Elizabeth Bishop

Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop: Two Small Fish in a Big Sea

It is no secret that Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop were close friends. Although written decades apart, poems titled “The Fish” were created by both authors. Upon reading Bishop’s poem against Moore’s, we can see that both of the poems deal with themes of endurance against a greater force and of the unpredictability of life. … Read moreMarianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop: Two Small Fish in a Big Sea