Thursday, November 27, 2008

Elizabeth Bishop

I really enjoyed her poem "One Art" and "Poem." I find her ability to discuss personal moment without being in your face about it very interesting. "One Art" doesn't cry out that she lost someone until the end, but she doesn't make an exact identity to anyone specific. "The joking voice" and "gesture" allows the person to be nearly anyone. I believe this allows the readers to make their own personal connection and can relate to the loss of a loved one. Readers can acknowledge that Bishop isn't as ok as she appears to be in the first few stanza, but it is also a quieter outcry. It's as if she is a confessional poet, but she isn't confessing in the same way Lowell and others were doing at the time.

I believe her ability to be personal while allowing others to make their own connections also shows up in "Poem." Many people have had that childhood place that has changed over the years. There are the homes of families and other relatives can share the stories of how things were before your time and tell how things have changed since their youth.

I also enjoy the use of nature and locations in her poetry. I believe this is another way for Bishop to express her emotions. As a child she moved around a lot and as an adult she continued to travel. I believe she felt displaced and wasn't ever sure where she had a home. Writing poems about the places she sees allows her to have a place of her own in her poetry. It allows her to leave a footprint somewhere, even if it's just in poetry. Maybe she can be comparable to Emily Dickinson, who also wrote about exotic locations. The difference would be that Bishop went to many of these places while Dickinson just read about them.

Though she isn't one of my favorite poets I did enjoy reading Elizabeth Bishop and I do find it interesting that she wasn't as popular as the confessional poets of her time, but that her poetry has become more appreciated in the future. I think that might go back to the idea that she was both personal with her writing but is vague enough to allow others to understand. I think being too personal in a poem, like the confessional poets, leaves distance between the reader and the poem unless they have experienced something exactly the same.

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