Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters
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Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters

by Elizabeth Bishop
     
 

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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

Overview

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 poets expressed astonished admiration of her formal rigor, fiercely observant eye, emotional intimacy, and sometimes eccentric flights of imagination. Today she is recognized as one of America's great poets of the 20th century. This unprecedented collection offers a full-scale presentation of a writer of startling originality, at once passionate and reticent, adventurous and perfectionist. It presents all the poetry that Bishop published in her lifetime, in such classic volumes as North & South, A Cold Spring, Questions of Travel, and Geography III. In addition it contains an extensive selection of un_published poems and drafts of poems (several not previously collected), as well as all her published poetic translations, ranging from a chorus from Aristophanes' The Birds to versions of Brazilian sambas.

Poems, Prose, and Letters brings together as well most of her published prose writings, including stories; reminiscences; travel writing about the places (Nova Scotia, Florida, Brazil) that so profoundly marked her poetry; and literary essays and statements, including a number of pieces published here for the first time. The book is rounded out with a selection of Bishop's irresistibly engaging and self-revelatory letters. Of the 53 letters included here, written between 1933 and 1979, a considerable number are printed for the first time, and all are presented in their entirety. Their recipients include Robert Lowell, Marianne Moore, Randall Jarrell, Anne Stevenson, May Swenson, and Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

No further proof is necessary to show that Bishop-still not widely known beyond literary circles at the time of her death in 1979-has, posthumously in the last three decades, become one of America's most popular 20th-century poets, but this hefty and handsome volume from the Library of America certainly clinches the deal. Between its covers one can find most of the perfectionist author's oeuvre, more than enough to confirm Bishop as a master at revealing the complexity of simple, often painful things ("I said to myself: three days/ and you'll be seven years old./ I was saying it to stop/ the sensation of falling off the round, turning world/ into cold, blue-black space./ But I felt: you are an I, you are an Elizabeth"). All the poems gathered in the now-classic Collected Poemsare here, as are the unpublished drafts released in 2006's controversial Edgar Allen Poe and the Jukebox. The memoir and fiction pieces of Collected Proseare also reprinted, along with a few other pieces of scattered nonfiction, as well as a generous selection of Bishop's enthralling letters. Bishop's work is deeply compassionate and necessary reading, and now almost all of it can be found in one place. (Feb)

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Library Journal

This mammoth volume sports all of Bishop's published works as well as many unpublished poems along with translations, correspondence, travel writing, literary essays, and more. An entire Bishop library between two covers for a reasonable price.


—Michael Rogers

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598530179
Publisher:
Library of America
Publication date:
02/14/2008
Series:
Library of America Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
975
Sales rank:
672,798
Product dimensions:
5.23(w) x 8.19(h) x 1.22(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

ROBERT GIROUX, co-editor, was chairman of the editorial board of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Elizabeth Bishop's longtime editor. He edited her Collected Prose (1984) and One Art (1994), her selected letters.

LLOYD SCHWARTZ, co-editor, is Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, classical music editor of The Boston Phoenix, and a regular reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air. In 1994 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. His most recent poetry collection is Cairo Traffic.

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