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Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  308 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Robert Giroux and Lloyd Schwartz, editors James Merrill described Elizabeth Bishop's poems as "more wryly radiant, more touching, more unaffectedly intelligent than any written in our lifetime" and called her "our greatest national treasure." Robert Lowell said, "I enjoy her poems more than anybody else's." Long before a wider public was aware of Bishop's work, her fellow ...more
Hardcover, 975 pages
Published February 14th 2008 by Library of America
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Apr 18, 2015 Trish rated it it was amazing
A friend of mine recently divulged his personal favorite among Bishop’s poems, "The End of March," which I immediately sought out, the end of March bearing some significance to me, now. I’d always thought of Elizabeth Bishop as a short story writer, and having sought out the Library of America edition of her collected poems, prose, and letters, I discover that I like best of all her essays, which read to me like her poems must read to others. Her essays are the real thing—life--in color, with co ...more
Elizabeth Periale
Nov 04, 2011 Elizabeth Periale rated it really liked it
She lived an itinerant life. Bishop came from a wealthy family, so she could afford to travel, and she did, often. Even though he made her home in Brazil for fifteen years, she used that home as a base to travel from, never seeming to stay in one place for too long. She also lived for many years in writers’ haven Key West. Bishop was an alcoholic. So many writers from her generation became alcoholics that it’s hard not to wonder if the true results of Prohibition were to grain-alcohol poison ...more
Jun 10, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979) wasn’t just a major 20th-century American poet, she also wrote short stories, reviewed other authors for magazines, carried on years of intense correspondence with other major figures, and had a fascinating personal life full of ups and downs. This Library of America volume offers us a very nearly complete poetic output along with an ample sampling of her other writings. There’s a chronology of her 68 years on earth too, walking us through a fascinating life that ...more
Mar 25, 2011 Lynne-marie rated it really liked it
This has been on my "reading" shelf for a long time, but I think there are respectable reasons for that. First, it is the complete collection of Elizabeth Bishop's life works, and that deserves a considered time for perusal. Second, she is a poet of the first magnitude so she is not read easily or quickly. Third, her poetry is magnetizing, so that while I was reading her prose & letters, I would dip back into the poetry and I would say at a conservative estimate that I read most of it two to ...more
Richard Needham
Feb 28, 2016 Richard Needham rated it it was amazing
This Library of America edition of Elizabeth Bishop opened up to me the impressive scope of her works: collected and uncollected poetry, essays, reminiscences from childhood, travel writing (she lived in Brazil for about 15 years), translations, and letters to established poets of the time: Marianne Moore, Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell. As one familiar mainly with an impressive poem or two from anthologies (Roosters for example), I really enjoyed experiencing the full scope of her creativity. ...more
Thomas Young
May 10, 2016 Thomas Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: default
Let me start off by saying that I ordered this for about 60 dollars less than the cover price, and it came in perfect condition, so that was nice. I am not a big fan of Bishop's prose writing; I think, perhaps, that her poetry has overshadowed her prose in my mind. The poetry volume provides something that makes this set really worthwhile: manuscript facsimiles of some of Bishop's unpublished poetry. These unseen pieces are not at all remarkable which is not to say anything diminishing of Bishop ...more
Jan 18, 2010 H added it
Shelves: theory-criticism
"My maternal grandmother had a glass eye. It fascinated me as a child, and the idea of it has fascinated me all my life. She was religious, in the Puritanical Protestant sense and didn't believe in looking into mirrors very much. Quite often the glass eye looked heavenward, or off at an angle, while the real eye looked at you.

'Him whose happie birth
Taught me to live here so, that still one eye
Should aim and shoot at that which is on high.'

"Off and on I have written out a poem called 'Grandmother
Aug 24, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was reading through some Anne Sexton poetry about a year ago. She wasn't really speaking to me at that time. So I picked up an anthology of women poets in our library and fell head over feet with Bishop's work. So naturally after devouring her poems and her book One Art , I had to go buy this book of her poems, prose and letters. She never fails to impress me. In each bit of work I find a gem. Whether it's on a fishing boat or how stranded she may feel in love, each written piece speaks to me. ...more
Though this is a more expensive collection of Bishop’s work, it is well worth it. The book offers a complete collection of her poems in chronological order, as well as her letters many of them to Robert Lowell, which are informative in not only understanding her aesthetics, but also her outlook on many of her contemporaries.
Apr 25, 2011 Karlan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, ya
The POEMS volume is excellent. Ms Bishop won many major awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. This book presents a selection from her many books and concludes with manuscripts which were unfinished at the time of her death.
Feb 09, 2013 Effie rated it it was amazing
Just dabbling in this, but really enjoy learning about Ms. Bishop's life and reading her refreshing words.
Oct 01, 2008 Chris11 rated it it was amazing
Always on my nightstand, it's become a favorite nearly every night. Her poems are always fresh and thoughtful. I like her sense of humor as well.
Jan 01, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, literary-folk
Best body of work I have ever read. Elizabeth Bishop was complex, her writing simple.

Utterly absorbing and fantastic. Yes, it is that good.
Nick Heynen
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  • Collected Poetry & Prose
  • Collected Poems, 1956-1987
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters
  • Collected Poems and Translations
  • Road Novels 1957–1960
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems and Other Writings
  • Collected Essays and Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Tales and Sketches
  • Novels, Mont Saint Michel, The Education
  • Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays
  • The Art of the Poetic Line
  • American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry
  • Historical Romances
  • Collected Poems, 1943-2004
  • The Poems of Marianne Moore
  • Novels, 1956-1964
  • The Sheltering Sky, Let it Come Down, The Spider's House
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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“I was made at right angles to the world
and I see it so. I can only see it so.”
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