No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Iconic Photo: Photo 4

Elizabeth Bishop
photo by J.L. Castel circa 1954

Elizabeth Bishop is considered one of the most important American poets of the last century. She was strongly influenced by fellow poet Marianne Moore, who, already established in the field, encouraged Bishop to write and to publish. After college, Bishop resided in South America, primarily Brazil, for fifteen years where she studied and became enthralled with so-called Latin American poetry. However, later in life, she returned to Cambridge where she became poet in residence at Harvard. She is one of the most distinguished poets of the last century, having won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and the only American to win the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Her style was distinct for its time in that while many other well-known writers of her day used personal details of their lives to establish their writing, Bishop is known instead for a more distant point of view that avoids such confession. Further, though her success as a woman writer surpassed that of others at her time, Bishop demanded that writing should be regarded on its own terms, irregardless of her gender.

To read more about her visit Harvard Square Library, or listen to Helen Vendler's phone interview with Bishop and poet Robert Lowell

1 comment:

  1. Must confess I do not know of her, but I can appreciate your introduction! Do you have a favorite poem of her's?