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North and South

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  66 ratings  ·  6 reviews
54 pages
Published 1946 by Houghton Mifflin
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North and South was the first collection by the American poet Elizabeth Bishop. Though published in 1946, all the material predates the war (or at least American involvement in it) and reflect Bishop's development as a poet through the 1930s and very early 1940s. Of course, the best place to get this material is in the Library of America that contains Bishop's complete poems and prose with a choice of letters, but it's interesting to examine this collection on its own.

From the very first poem, "
Annette Boehm
Bishop's first collection, published in 1946, contains many interesting poems. The pages swarm with birds, fish, reptiles; there is even a man-moth. The poems are varied enough in theme and style to keep a reader interested through the volume, and it's nice and short, too. As poetry volumes often are. :) My favorite poems in this one are "The Monument", "The Fish", "The Gentleman of Shalott", and "The Man-Moth". Bishop likes to play with language, her images are captivating, acute observations. ...more
Ben Pieper
A Better Review is to come, but here are my (initial) favorites from this collection:

"Chemin De Fer"
"Sleeping Standing Up"
"The Fish"
"Songs for a Colored Singer"
Cooper Renner
I have not been a particular fan of Bishop (though long ago I often used "The Fish," which I rather liked, with high school classes), but decided to pick this volume up when I found it at Booked Up in Archer City, Texas. It was not impressing me until about halfway through, when I hit "Sleeping on the Ceiling," a very clever poem which compares Paris (perhaps before World War Two?) to a neglected room, and suddenly either the poems got better or my outlook and Bishop's began to overlap. I found ...more
From "Songs for a Colored Singer:"

"Fruit or flower? It is a face.
Yes, a face.
In that dark and dreary place
each seed grows into a face."
My favorite poem in this collection is "The Man-Moth," which combines Bishop's characteristic exactness of perception with a floridly imaginative surrealism that is rather unusual for her.
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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
More about Elizabeth Bishop...
The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 Geography III One Art The Collected Prose Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters

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“I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn form the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.”
More quotes…