Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer. 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. Elizabeth Bishop House is an artists' retreat in Great Village, Nova Scotia dedicated to her memory. She is considered one of the most important and distinguished American poets of the 20th century.
Elizabeth Bishop, an only child, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. After her father, a successful builder, died when she was eight months old, Bishop’s mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized in 1916. (Bishop wrote about the time of her ... more »
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Elizabeth Bishop Poems
The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster,
I Am in Need of Music
I am in need of music that would flow Over my fretful, feeling fingertips, Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips, With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
I caught a tremendous fish and held him beside the boat half out of water, with my hook fast in a corner of his mouth.
A Miracle for Breakfast
At six o'clock we were waiting for coffee, waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb that was going to be served from a certain balcony --like kings of old, or like a miracle.
In the Waiting Room
In Worcester, Massachusetts, I went with Aunt Consuelo to keep her dentist's appointment and sat and waited for her
September rain falls on the house. In the failing light, the old grandmother sits in the kitchen with the child beside the Little Marvel Stove,
The moon in the bureau mirror looks out a million miles (and perhaps with pride, at herself, but she never, never smiles)
Each day with so much ceremony begins, with birds, with bells, with whistles from a factory; such white-gold skies our eyes
The brown enormous odor he lived by was too close, with its breathing and thick hair, for him to judge. The floor was rotten; the sty was plastered halfway up with glass-smooth dung.
The state with the prettiest name, the state that floats in brackish water, held together by mangrave roots that bear while living oysters in clusters,
The tumult in the heart keeps asking questions. And then it stops and undertakes to answer in the same tone of voice.
Oh, but it is dirty! --this little filling station, oil-soaked, oil-permeated to a disturbing, over-all
At the Fishhouses
Although it is a cold evening, down by one of the fishhouses an old man sits netting, his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
First Death In Nova Scotia
In the cold, cold parlor my mother laid out Arthur beneath the chromographs: Edward, Prince of Wales,
Quotationsmore quotations »
All my life I have lived and behaved very much like [the] sandpiperjust running down the edges of different countries and continents, "looking for something" ... having spent most of my life tim...Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), U.S. poet; relocated to Brazil. As quoted in Contemporary Poets, 3rd ed., by James Vinson (1980). A native of Worces...
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The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ...