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One Art

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  332 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
From several thousand letters, written over fifty years - from 1928, when she was seventeen, to the day of her death, in Boston in 1979 - Robert Giroux has selected over five hundred and has written a detailed and informative introduction. One Art takes us behind Bishop's formal sophistication and reserve, displaying to the full the gift for friendship, the striving for pe ...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published September 30th 1995 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Erin Malone
This is one of those books that brings out the compulsive side of me. I read every letter--even the most mundane, and there were many of those: doctor's visits, housekeeping, etc. Since Bishop is among my favorite poets, I was compelled to read everything, not wanting to miss a shred of her life story. The letters work like puzzles; we have only Bishop's, so we have to piece together what she's responding to. That's partly what's so interesting. As with any real person, though, there are sides o ...more
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You know you're a reader when you devour the letters: thin paper and volumes of it. I wrote this one out in the Green Notebook in 1994:

"It really is fantastic to place so much on the fact that I have wirten a half-dozen phrases that I can still bear to reread without too much embarrassment.But I have that continuous uncomfortable feeling of 'things' in the head, like icebergs or rocks or awkwardly place pieces of furniture. It's as if all the nouns were there but the verbs were lacking--if you k
Mary Thelma Pulido
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Its evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster."

Just worthwhile. A must!
Ahlam Oqaili
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The type of book you keep beside your night stand and get back to it , can not say more.
Chess via Email
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I still don't like her or her asshead high school (I had to pump sixteen inches of water out of a basement there last night and am sitting in the basement of her old dorm as I write this (I think)), but a lifetime of letters is almost always an incredible thing. This set got me very interested in Marianne Moore.

P.S. I think the choice of last letter was unfortunate--even if it was written on the day of her death.

P.P.S. She didn't like Charlotte's Web?!?!?!

P.P.P.S. They engraved an E.E. Cummings
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poets, letter-writers, animals-lovers, Brazil
Bishop's favorite show was Sesame Street. This is only one of the many amazing things I found out. While there are long sad sections, many of these letters contain hilarious asides and comments. Her descriptions of Brazil and the many other places she traveled make me want to get on a plane immediately. I love reading this book, and the David Kalstone is a great companion book that explains a lot of biographical details, as well as critically dissecting Bishop's relationships with Moore and Lowe ...more
Rochelle Melander
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
For many years, I have loved the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. I was delighted to find this riveting collection of her letters. Kirkus reviews said this about the carefully selected collection of letters: "More spontaneous, garrulous, and revealing than her published poetry or prose, ... " The letters offer an intimate portrait of the writer, her struggles with health and loneliness, her great love for her partner Lola, and fascinating details about her daily life.
Gord Higginson
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Currently still reading (and have been since Jan 2011)--appropriate time to read her selected letters as Bishop was born 100 years ago! I have been browse-reading this hefty tome since Jan., meaning I just look through it every now and then and read some letters, usually a few times a week, rather than reading it from beginning to end in one go. Fascinating letters.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am not sure how long it will take me to finish the book but the letters are compelling. I am in Bishop's early years now and can't wait to see how she will craft her correspondence as she matures. Obviously a woman who knew how to bring out the best in a language.
Kate Alexandrite
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I want to read this again, to remember how amazing the world was while I was living in her words.
Jan 05, 2011 is currently reading it
I started reading this for an Poetry Writing Workshop
Jul 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetsandpoetry
Pretty good as far as letters go. The ones between her and "Cal" (Robert Lowell) are the most interesting.
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
not exactly a bio, but a fascinating collection of letters from two seminal 20th century poets.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing

I just read her unpublished poems in a new edition: Edgar Allen Poe and the Jukebox. Also fantastic
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great poet and very interesting woman - learning how difficult it is for brilliant talent to survive and flourish.
Deb W
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone entranced by the world of literature and artists.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Maybe best for THE EB fan. But in here is so much deep knowledge not only on the art of reading and writing poetry but the art of understanding how one is living wholly in that lived moment.
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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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“The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.”
More quotes…