Elizabeth Bishop Essay Research Paper Why Elizabeth

Elizabeth Bishop Essay, Research Paper

Why Elizabeth Bishop was Considered to be Dickonsonian in Her Writing Style Poet

Elizabeth Bishop was as simple as she was complex. The lucid and uncomplicated

images she created with her seemingly elementary style were anything but; in

fact, the complexity that resides within her characteristically simple prose,

which demonstrate a purity and precision like no other, are known only to those

who can see beyond their faзade. Attention to outer detail and an

unquenchable desire to portray her inner pain, Bishop favored a more simplistic

approach to convey the immense pain and suffering she endured throughout her

life. Utilizing the concepts of surrealism and imagery, as well as incorporating

landscape and geography, the troubled poet cleverly and quite appropriately

captured her audience with images of her own anguish. Only since her death has

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) been generally recognized as one of the four or

five finest American poets of this century. One reason it’s taken so long may be

Bishop’s low profile: she lived in Brazil for almost half her productive life,

published a slim new book of poems only once a decade, disliked giving public

readings, and participated in none of the "movements" of her time.

Bishop’s masterly descriptive powers were the energy she invested in an attempt

to found a poetry not on what had happened to its author, but on what its author

saw and felt and shared with others in the present, whether what was shared was

a set of friends, a series of real or imagined travels, books read, or sights

seen. Bishop, besides being an award winning poet, was a prolific letter writer.

Her friend and publisher, Robert Giroux, has assembled and edited over 500 of

the letters Bishop wrote to her friends from around the world. Emily Dickonson’s

closest friends knew she wrote poetry, because she often included poems or lines

from poems in her many letters. What they had no way of appreciating, however,

was the magnitude of her solitary achievement. When she died at 56 her sister

Lavinia found in a drawer over 1,700 poems — the result of a lifetime’s

concentrated work. And since the publication of a small selection of those poems

four years after her death, Dickinson’s reputation has risen; today her place

among the very best poets to have written in English is unchallenged. Dickinson

in her early 30’s made some tentative attempts to get published, but her work

was far ahead of its time and she did not meet with success. Only seven poems

were published in her lifetime, each changed by editors to suit the day’s

standards of rhyme, punctuation and meter. The many similarities between Bishop

and Dickonson are clearly evident in their lives and their writing styles. Both

women were from the New England area; both never married; both wrote about their

pain, suffering and anguish; both were minimally published before their deaths;

both used a simple. easy to read, writing style; and both wrote or incorporated

nature into their themes. The only differences were Emily Dickonson’s religion

and isolation, whereas Elizabeth Bishop was well travelled and considered to be

an agnostic. Elizabeth Bishop nearly mirrored Emily Dickonson in every way, and

that is why she is considered to be "Dickonsonian."


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