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Geography III

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  1,147 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Geography III, Bishop's final book of poems, first appaered in 1976. It contains such masterpieces as "In the Waiting Room," "The Moose," and "One Art."
Paperback, 50 pages
Published April 1st 1978 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1976)
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May 31, 2014 Douglas rated it really liked it
Georgraphy III won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 1976. Several poems in this collection have been widely anthologized, and rightly so.

In her most famous poem, “In the Waiting Room”, Bishop remembers when she was a young child waiting for her aunt to finish a dental appointment. She starts looking through a National Geographic magazine and sees the striking images of life on earth – the inside of a volcano, an American adventure couple donned in riding boots and helmets, t
Mar 12, 2012 Matthieu rated it really liked it
Worcester dentists: wait for your aunt Consuelo, sit and wait for her, there is snow outside, it was winter, it got dark early, the waiting room was full of grown-up people, there is snow covering your blankets, arctics and overcoats in your dreams, lamps and magazines; she was inside for such a long time, you are concerned, distracted, the world is spread out, materially spread out, entirely accessible to your hands; you read National Geographic, you can read, you study the photographs: the int ...more
Apr 16, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This may be a short collection, containing only ten poems, but what a marvelous imagination! The ten poems are "In the Waiting Room", "Crusoe in England", "Night City", "The Moose", "12 O'Clock News", "Poem", "One Art", "The End of March", "Objects & Apparitions", and "Five Flights Up". The poems may be few, but their subjects are many. Indeed, the poet's imagination is vast in scope, and yet controlled in its actualization. The poet writes about personal islands (in "Crusoe in England") and ...more
Sarah Anne
Jul 15, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-woman, poetry
4.5 stars rounded up because I loved how incredibly vivid her descriptions were. The Moose was definitely the best :)
Nov 05, 2008 Wayne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Wayne by: my friend Norma

Have just added two new shelves to this poetry gem - Memoirs-biography and Movie-Seen-As-Well. "Reaching For The Moon", the film of Elizabeth Bishop's meeting with the architect Lota de Macedo in Brazil just released here in Sydney last week.
And that makes for a Capital Reason to reread this Favourite;
and hopefully lead onto her Collected Works for at least SOME dipping !


A little unexpected gem sent to me in 1983 for Xmas by my supe
Justin Evans
Nov 24, 2010 Justin Evans rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry-and-drama
My feelings are bit skewed, I think, since i read the first half of the book a few weeks ago, and just finished the second half. 'In the Waiting Room' is great, no doubt about it, and Crusoe in England too. The rest of the book? Meh. I suspect that all the deep interpretations of these poems are more about the reader than the poet, and to be honest, whatever it is that I go to poetry for, Bishop doesn't give it to me. The poems are very pretty, no doubt, and have intellectual heft. I'm not sure ...more
It took me a long time to warm up to Elizabeth Bishop, mainly because her style of poetry is so emphatically not-warm and impersonal and seemingly dispassionate. Over the years, I've come to appreciate that there *is* a kind of cold, slow, subtle beauty inherent in the very meticulousness of her descriptions. And I do wish I had her profound sense of place. Still, I wonder if I'll always prefer poets who pack a stronger emotional punch.....poets whose poems burn and rage like wildfires.....poets ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Pete rated it it was amazing
the moose/bus ride one
the crusoe in england one
the one art one

human geography perfected through sidelong glances. i dunno just one of those books that walked up and did the "got your nose" thing at exactly the right time. this book has my nose.
Jul 27, 2007 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone!
This is the touchstone.
John Pistelli
Jul 15, 2015 John Pistelli rated it it was amazing
Like so many poets, Bishop is someone I know only through anthology pieces, so I thought a whole collection would be in order. And Geography III, short as it is—50 pages of large print and enormous margins—demands to be read as a collection.

In my review of DeLillo's Libra, I noted the 20th-century tendency among novelists and poets to "[warn] against the dream of absolute knowledge"—Bishop contributes masterfully to this tradition, every element of this, her final book, participating in it.

Feb 13, 2017 Paige rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-etc
I felt this began and ended strong, but I felt a little lost in the middle. I might just have to give a second read to let some of the other poems resonate. But for the sake of my favorite pieces "In the Waiting Room" and "One Art," I recommend reading this short collection. It's very cohesive as a whole.
Jan 30, 2017 Noel rated it it was amazing
Any book of poetry that I actually get through deserves five stars.
Francois Pointeau
Oct 12, 2016 Francois Pointeau rated it it was amazing
Please read my blog entry where I talk about this book:

Will be rereading this book many times, and reading the rest of Bishop's work.
Mar 20, 2015 Christopher rated it liked it
Geography III was the last collection that American poet Elizabeth Bishop published during her lifetime. Farrar, Straus and Giroux still publishes this individually, but Bishop's total output was fairly small and you might be better off getting Geography III as part of a "complete works". I, for example, encountered it in the Library of America volume of poems, prose, and letters.

When these poems were written (Geography III was published in 1977), Bishop was already in her sixties. The first poe
Luke Elliott
Sep 25, 2016 Luke Elliott rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2015 Maggie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I had bought this for a literature course in college, but we never ended up using it, so it's been sitting quietly on a shelf for years, waiting patiently for me to remember its existence. And I am so glad I finally did because now I can say I love Bishop's poetry...I would definitely like to read more of her work. She takes everyday, seemingly mundane observations and subtly carves them into lively and even fantastical scenes. She has a concise style that I appreciate, and there's quite a bit o ...more
Jan 30, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, female-writer
As part of my Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell reading preparation, I wanted to read some Elizabeth Bishop. I hadn't read very much of her writing. I finished Geography III: Poems very quickly. There were only ten poems in the whole book. It was 50 pages, but the print was huge.

All of these poems were new to me. I have only read "The Fish" before.

I liked her imagery, and it seemed to me like the poems were written slowly and quietly. None of t
Apr 16, 2014 Helen rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Bishop's poem In the Waiting Room is one of my favorite poems. The little six year old girl alone in a waiting room at the dentist's office, not for her own appointment but for her aunt's, reading the National Geographic with "those awful hanging breasts". How all of these things come together and for the first time the child becomes not just self aware, but aware of how she is just one of many, is just awesome.

I say all of this because it's the first poem in this collection. And the
3.5 stars; gave it 4 because I like to think I'll come back to this collection in a few years and 'get' it. For poems like "In the Waiting Room," "The Moose," and "Crusoe in England," this would get a straight-up-on-the-rocks-5-star-rating. Much of the rest, though, was for me filler. And I find "One Art"--though not filler--certainly overrated (don't hurt me).

Someone teach me how to like Bishop more. "In the Waiting Room" is one of my favorite poems ever, but damn, she and I have been off to a
Nov 18, 2007 Paula rated it really liked it
I decided it was time to pull this off the shelf again. This is quite a short book to read, as it consists of only ten poems, but that doesn't make it any less worthy of a person's time.

This particular collection leaves out some of Bishop's most famous poems ("The Fish," "Sestina"), but includes some of her most profound ("One Art," "The Moose"). The idea is that these poems are global, as they range from that unknown island in "Robinson Crusoe" all the way up to Canada in "The Moose" and back
Sherry Chandler
Jul 13, 2011 Sherry Chandler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thepoets
Recently Leatha Kendrick mentioned that Elizabeth Bishop's Geography III was a seminal work of modern poetry.

I've read Bishop sort of here and there, the biggies: "One Art," "The Moose," "In the Waiting Room" (all three of which are in Geography III). And I recently bought a copy of her complete poems. But a collected is a different critter from a collection.

So -- because I was going off on this residency in hopes immersing myself in poetry for a week -- of writing poetry of my own -- I thought
Mar 25, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
A collection of poems I like but don't love. "In the Waiting Room" is my favorite of the bunch, but her translation of Octavio Paz' poem for Joseph Cornell titled "Objects & Apparitions" is not far behind. Something about her Crusoe poem keeps me coming back, but at times the poems, no matter how well crafted, fail for me. The "12 O'Clock News" proem--in which she imagines her desktop through the eyes of a tinytinytiny person--is strained and too damn cheeky, and "The End of March" (a "rumin ...more
alyssa carver
May 22, 2015 alyssa carver rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-own
yes, yes, yes, please!

i don't know how i missed reading this before, in college... this is how books of poetry are supposed to be: bite-sized. for pleasure (rather than study, i mean) i only want to read poems in the small packages or collections as they were intended by the author. like rich desserts, they can't be digested in a all-you-can-eat buffet-sized tome of So-And-So's Collected Works. (weirdly, at the library where i work, it was hard to find any smaller-sized Bishop collections.) or m
Aug 20, 2007 Claudia rated it really liked it
Quién define la cultura? Debemos sentirnos atrapados en la ventana o es sólo nuestra perspectiva la que está encerrada? (In the Waiting Room). Cuáles son los espacios en blanco de los libros que debemos llenar, y cómo? (Crusoe in England)Estas son algunas de las preguntas que este libro nos brinda en forma brillante.

Who defines culture? Should we feel trapped in a window or is our perspective the one that is frame? (In the Waiting Room). Which are the blanks that we might fill in the books, and
May 01, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
There are only ten poems in this little book, but they include classics such as “In the Waiting Room”, “Crusoe in England”, “The Moose”, “One Art”, and “Objects and Apparitions”, a translation of Octavia Paz’s poem about Joseph Cornell. Bishop’s close observation and linguistic clarity make each poem a standout.

“’One has to commit a painting,’ said Degas,/’the way one commits a crime.’ But you constructed/boxes where things hurry away from their names.” Objects and Apparitions

“The city burns tea
Feb 13, 2016 Drew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A book of just ten poems? Well, why not when they're this good? Elizabeth Bishop's final collection to be published in her lifetime is substantial stuff despite the scarcity of its pages. The opening "In the Waiting Room" is a stunner; "12 O'Clock News," kind of hilarious; "One Art," an unaffected villanelle that underscores the import and power of form. "Geography III" is what you might call a big little book. While other poetry collections may feel like diaries with their ups and downs; this o ...more
Michael Arnold
May 27, 2016 Michael Arnold rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Another great one by Elizabeth Bishop. Some of her best poems are in this collection. Even though the last poem has a line about how animals might not talk because they know there is nothing more worth saying - which sounds like the kind of pseudo-intellectual claptrap Jayden Smith would come out with. However, coming from Bishop you somehow take it a little more seriously.
Apr 23, 2013 Matt rated it liked it

There's something about her work that's just pure...

I understand that she gets relegated to the position of being a 'poet's poet's poet' and I can appreciate that and everything, but I think that her vividness and her plainspoken quality mixed with her immense subtlety comes together as few others really can.
Jul 21, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Reading only the section entitled Geography III in Bishop's larger collected works felt like cheating to me, but I have to be selective because my book list is long and deep. Many of the poems in this volume are classics and rightly so. Robinson Crusoe in England is one I've read but hadn't stuck with me like One Art has. I'm glad I reread this.
Aug 08, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: poultry
Bishop's language didn't arrest me as much or as frequently in this collection but the overall effect of several of the poems, especially the longer ones, made up for that. I require many more readings before any thoughts worth sharing are likely to coalesce.
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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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“Dreams were the worst. Of course I dreamed of food
and love, but they were pleasant rather
than otherwise. But then I'd dream of things
like slitting a baby's throat, mistaking it
for a baby goat. I'd have
nightmares of other islands
stretching away from mine, infinities
of islands, islands spawning islands,
like frogs' eggs turning into polliwogs
of islands, knowing that I had to live
on each and every one, eventually,
for ages, registering their flora,
their fauna, their geography.”
“I never knew him. We both knew this place,
apparently, this literal small backwater,
looked at it long enough to memorize it,
our years apart. How strange. And it's still loved,
or its memory is (it must have changed a lot).
Our visions coincided--'visions' is
too serious a word--our looks, two looks:
art 'copying from life' and life itself,
life and the memory of it so compressed
they've turned into each other. Which is which?
Life and the memory of it cramped,
dim, on a piece of Bristol board,
dim, but how live, how touching in detail
--the little that we get for free,
the little of our earthly trust. Not much.
About the size of our abidance
along with theirs: the munching cows,
the iris, crisp and shivering, the water
still standing from spring freshets,
the yet-to-be-dismantled elms, the geese.”
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