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Poems

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  199 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
This volume represents the collected poems of an important American poet, Elizabeth Bishop. Her first book, North & South, won the Houghton Mifflin Poetry Award and seldom has a new collection of poems been greeted with such critical enthusiasm.
Hardcover, 95 pages
Published 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company (first published 1946)
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Christopher
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The 1955 volume POEMS reissued Elizabeth Bishop's debut collection North and South, but it also contained an entirely new collection titled A Cold Spring. One of the best places to get this material is the Library of America volume (ISBN 1598530178) that contains Bishop's complete poems and prose with a choice of letters, but I have found it interesting to slowly examine Bishop's collections on their own.

North and South was published in 1946, but of the poems predate the war (or at least America
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Will McGrath
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know enough about reading poetry to weigh in with an educated opinion. I can say that I found a number of the pieces in this collection captivating, and others less so. I'll be interested to see how "North & South" (her debut collection, from 1946) compares with her final collection, "Geography III", which won the 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award (and which I plan to read in a few weeks).

I did find reading Bishop before sitting down to my own projects to be a useful practice.
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Chris
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a reason Bishop is a modern classic. Her writing is so obscure and precise and full of wonderful images that resonate and linger. To me, this is what I want from poetry.

Granted, yes, some of her rhyme schemes feel a bit dated--if not outright forced--so those can make for some awkward reads. Overall, though, I love Bishop's language and will most definitely be reading more of her work down the road.
Courtney Johnston
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, poetry
I fell for Elizabeth Bishop on the first page of this double-collection.

The Map

Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.
Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges
showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges
where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.
Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under,
drawing it unperturbed around itself?
Along the fine tan sandy shelf
is the land tugging at the sea from under?

The shadow of Newfoundland lies flat and still.
Labrador's yellow, where the moony Esk
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Justin Evans
Sep 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-and-drama
About half of these were really good; about half were eye-rolling. Honestly, you can only use the word 'marl' so many times before it becomes precious. I think it might be once, too. Basically, when something actually happens and she feels free to comment on that happening, the poems are great; when nothing happens and she's just describing it's sleep inducing. For me anyway; I'm pretty uninterested in poetic descriptions of nature. I guess people fall madly in love with her travel poems, so may ...more
Greg
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is a nice set of poems. A number of them deal with geographic features: maps, weeds, an iceberg, a seascape. Some discuss places such as Paris and Florida. I do not have a wide knowledge of poetry, but while Ginsberg is often in-your-face with graphic sex, and Merrill goes deep into, for example, emotional pain, Elizabeth Bishop (in this collection) feels simply light and rather pleasant. This is comfort poetry for bedtime reading. I liked this collection, hence my three star rating, and wi ...more
Nathan
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love her work. I love form and well-done rhyme. She's insightful, playful and witty. Wordsmith - page and ink as metal and fire.
Jenna
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.
Matthew
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i love Elizabeth bishop and I thought it'd be fun to read her collections at my own pace. I have the collected poems and I just finished reading and reviewing all of North and South, her first published volume. it's so excellent; I love her work. fuck yeah!
Jeff
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't speak/write cogently on Bishop's poetry per se, so some thoughts.

Last week i listened to recordings of her readings. Yesterday, yet again, i noticed that my reading mind has different favorite bits than my listening mind's. Rhyme is more apparent when reading, as if it were visual. I experience rhythm and meter better while listening, though

While reading poetry these last couple weeks i also noticed that choice images or words send me wandering through memories more so than novels and n
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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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More about Elizabeth Bishop...
“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.”
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