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Prose

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  247 Ratings  ·  18 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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(showing 1-30 of 558)
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Jeff Buddle
Oct 31, 2015 Jeff Buddle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is this all there is? Just 273 pages of non-fiction and fiction is it? Sad to say that this volume contains all the prose we'll ever have from Ms. Bishop who was a master poet, her prose as crystalline and detailed as her poems.

I preferred the non-fiction to the fiction, "The U.S.A. School of Writing" and "Efforts of Affectation: A Memoir of Marianne Moore" being standouts, but among the fiction there are strange little gems like "In Prison" which weirdly anticipates writing of Tom McCarthy (es
...more
Monique Gerke
Considerações sobre o livro:
• Os sete primeiros contos do livro são fictícios (pelos menos assim interpretei). São bons. Não sei se a característica do conto é ser triste e melancólico, mas ultimamente todos os contistas que eu leio (Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheveer) tem essas duas características na maioria dos contos, embora seja uma melancolia fria, que não apela ao sentimentalismo ou emocional do leitor. Chega ser mórbido as vezes. E é engraçado, pois a própria B
...more
Steven
Mar 06, 2008 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jenny
May 02, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicole
Aug 25, 2008 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
love!
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
NL
Aug 13, 2007 NL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Gerry LaFemina
Feb 01, 2015 Gerry LaFemina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bishop's prose is as detailed and lovely as her poems. I particularly loved her remembrance of Marianne Moore. Her essays although personal have the same objective voice as her poems, which makes them a delight to read in this era of the ego-driven memoir.
Liz
Sep 25, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rereading
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
Abby
I love Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry, and so I was thrilled to find a very clean used copy of this book at a recent book sale. This book contains a solidly written collection, half memoir-like vignettes and essays, half short stories. The essay about her friendship with Marianne Moore was particularly delightful. I was happy to read more of Bishop’s strong voice, but on the whole, I confess that I found this book a bit dull. Her poetry has much more life and vigor than her prose, I think, but there ...more
Cooper Renner
May 20, 2013 Cooper Renner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read all of this book of course--I never intended to. And I may read more of it later. Her memoir essays are mostly very very fine, well observed, funny, sometimes touching. Her memoir of Marianne Moore is superb. And her brief reviews or comments on other authors are interesting too. It is probably heresy for me to say this, but I think it's possible that, 50 years from now, people might treasure her prose more than her poetry.
Jessica
May 09, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
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.
Mikael
Nov 13, 2010 Mikael rated it liked it  ·  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.
nancy
Oct 04, 2014 nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2014
Her prose is so delightful. I think I like her prose more than her poetry. I really enjoyed reading "Primer Class" and "Efforts of Affection." I found it really funny, the way she described Marianne Moore.
Maria
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.
Kendra
Jul 07, 2011 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Elizabeth Bishop wrote essays about Chemistry or Waste Management, I would read those too.
Jenni
There's a few very good stories but I think she was a better poet.
Sophy
Dec 29, 2008 Sophy is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
so good
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Jun 28, 2016
Lou Last
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Jun 07, 2016
Claire
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Jun 06, 2016
Ellie O'Leary
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May 25, 2016
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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
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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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