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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  205 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Elizabeth Bishop’s prose is not nearly as well known as her poetry, but she was a dazzling and compelling prose writer too, as the publication of her letters has shown. Her stories are often on the borderline of memoir, and vice versa. From her college days, she could find the most astonishing yet thoroughly apt metaphors to illuminate her ideas. This volume—edited by the...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 1984)
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I read this book while sweltering in the steaming summer of Key West and was charmed to be sitting on the patio of a coffee shop on Duval Street as I read about what it looked like in decades past, surrounded still by the colorful characters and crowing roosters that draw so many artists to its tiny shacks and crowded streets. It is just one of the remote places Elizabeth Bishop chose to spend part of her life and the one where she tried to train her typing hands to draw and paint. I found this...more
I highly enjoyed this essay collection. Elizabeth Bishop writes about her childhood, young adulthood, experiences abroad, experiences as a writer. Some of the essays were on topics I found boring (a hyper-detailed portrait of a little town in Brazil, for example), but her writing was so compelling I found myself interested in whatever she wrote about. She writes about old-timey things, growing up during WWI, graduating from Vassar college in 1934. Her writing is really funny/witty at many points...more
this collection is a mix of personal essays, memoir pieces and short stories. it's gorgeous.
even though these works are taken from all throughout her career, and not compiled by her, there is amazing resonance between the pieces. it was wonderful to get the actual circumstances of her childhood from her perspective and see how she filtered them into "in the village," one of the most crystalline, poetic short stories of all time.
and, it was personally helpful to read about her first job aft...more
I didn't have time to finish this book, since I am leaving the house where it is from. I first read this collection about a dozen years ago, but only remembered when I got to "Efforts of Affection," the story of Bishop's friendship with Marianne Moore. When I reread it, I saw that this story has somehow been operating on me since age twenty. This house's library also contains Bishop's collected letters, _One Art_, which are fun to read in tandem with her prose. My favorite works in this collecti...more
In high school I avoided Elizabeth Bishop like the plague, just to be contrary. People were forever giving me her books because I was a poetry girl whose name was also Elizabeth and we share a birthday. It was not until I attained a certain level of maturity (and an appreciation for poetry written before the 1960s) that I actually began to read her work and discover how truly unique and lovely it is. I reread the prose in anticipation of sinking my teeth into the collected correspondence between...more
I love Bishop's writing, her poems and her essays, and stories (this is a collection of the latter two). Many of these cover her early life, memories of Prince Edward Island. Very beautiful, evocative. She's without a doubt one of my very favorite poets.
Nov 13, 2010 Mikael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls
bought this book on special order from my local bookshop (gleebooks on glebe point rd, sydney) during the height of my lowell mania. i got over liz even quicker than i did bob. nice stories about brazil though.
I liked the story about Moore, the others I skimmed through, and didn't appreciate as much. She mentions her "friend" briefly.
Chess via Email
The last story was pretty good.

It's obvious she went to Walnut Hill. She's very good at networking.
If Elizabeth Bishop wrote essays about Chemistry or Waste Management, I would read those too.
There's a few very good stories but I think she was a better poet.
Dec 29, 2008 Sophy is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
so good
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  • The Best American Essays 2005
  • The Pound Era
  • Poetic Meter and Poetic Form
  • The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination
  • Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry
  • Collected Poems
  • Selected Prose
  • Styles of Radical Will
  • The Master Letters: Poems
  • The Best American Essays 2006
  • Axel's Castle: A Study of the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930
  • Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry
  • Human Wishes
  • Life Studies and For the Union Dead
  • The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing
  • Garbage
  • Selected Poems
  • Heaven's Coast: A Memoir
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and writer from Worcester, Massachusetts. 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. She is considered one of the most importa...more
More about Elizabeth Bishop...
The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 Geography III One Art Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell

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“[Marianne Moore] once remarked, after a visit to her brother and his family, that the state of being married and having children had one enormous advantage: "One never has to worry about whether one is doing the right thing or not. There isn't time. One is always having to go to the market or drive the children somewhere. There isn't time to wonder 'Is this right or isn't it?” 3 likes
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