Friday, February 11, 2011

Some comments on her poetry

Robert Lowell remarked, "Elizabeth Bishop is the contemporary poet that I admire most...There's a beautiful completeness to all of Bishop's poetry.  I don't think anyone alive has a better eye than she had: The eye that sees things and the mind behind the eye that remembers."

John Timpane (2/9/2011) of the Philadelphia Inquirer says "Bishop, who called writing poetry 'an unnatural act,' was an obsessive perfectionist, keeping poems for years, publishing only about 80 in her lifetime.  But for many readers, they're indelible.  In poems such as "The Fish" and "The Armadillo," she emerges as one of the greatest descriptive poets in English."

Elizabeth Bishop, "Writing poetry is an unnatural act.  It takes great skill to make it seem natural.  Most of the poet's energies are really directed towards this goal: to convince himself (perhaps, with luck, eventually some readers) that what he's up to and what he's saying is really an inevitable, only natural way of behaving under the circumstances."

Elizabeth Bishop (1960's) "Off and on I have written out a poem called 'Grandmother's Glass Eye' which should be about the problem of writing poetry.  The situation of my grandmother strikes me as rather like the situation of the poet: the difficulty of combining the real with the decidedly un-real; the natural with the unnatural; the curious effect a poem produces of being as normal as sight and yet as synthetic, as artificial, as a glass eye."

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