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To celebrate the (UK) publication of Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments, edited by Alice Quinn (Carcanet), there will be an Elizabeth Bishop Celebration on Friday 24th November (in Manchester Central Library, Committee Room 2nd floor 1-2pm -- the event is free).


Michael Schmidt will talk about Bishop and her work, there will be audio recordings of Bishop reading, and Manchester writers (like me!), students and fans of her work will contribute by reading some of her poems aloud to the gathered masses.


I was recently sent Art and Memory in the Work of Elizabeth Bishop by Jonathan Ellis (Ashgate), but I've not had a chance to look at it. The publisher reckons:


Jonathan Ellis offers evidence for a redirection in Bishop studies toward a more thorough scrutiny of the links between Bishop's art and life. The book is less concerned with the details of what actually happened to Bishop than with the ways in which she refracted key events into writing: both personal, unpublished material as well as stories, poems, and paintings. Thus, Ellis challenges Bishop's reputation as either a strictly impersonal or personal writer and repositions her poetry between the Modernists on the one hand and the Confessionals on the other.

Although Elizabeth Bishop was born and died in Massachusetts, she lived a life more bohemian and varied than that of almost all of her contemporaries, a fact masked by the tendency of biographers and critics to focus on Bishop's life in the United States. Drawing on published works and unpublished material overlooked by many critics, Ellis gives equal attention to the influence of Bishop's Canadian upbringing on her art and to the shifts in her aesthetic and personal tastes that took place during Bishop's residence in Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s. By bringing together the whole of Bishop's work, this book opens a welcome new direction in Bishop studies specifically, and in the study of women poets generally.

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