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Voices & Visions

Elizabeth Bishop

From childhood in Nova Scotia to travels in Brazil, this program illustrates the geographic spirit of Bishop's life and works with scenes from her poems.

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Elizabeth Bishop’s poems were always admired for the purity and precision of her descriptions, and now readers have come to see how, even in her early poems, the attention to external detail reveals an internal emotional realm. Bishop’s early works use surrealism and imagism to create a new reality in which she minimizes the reference to self in poetry, but her later poems become more autobiographical and more concerned with a quest for personal identity.

Additional Resources

Academy of American Poets

Hear Bishop describe an “egg of fire” disrupting ancient owls, a glistening armadillo, and a baby rabbit in “The Armadillo” at the Academy of American Poets’ Bishop site. An essay/exhibit, “Life Studies: American Poetry from T. S. Eliot to Allen Ginsberg,” explains why Bishop is considered “one of our most abundant poets.”

Vassar College: Elizabeth Bishop

Read papers on Bishop’s artistic influences, her search for an “earthly paradise,” her political concerns, and other topics at this Vassar College site. The site also contains a brief biography, a thorough bibliography, an essay on Bishop, a register of Bishop papers at Vassar, and information about two Elizabeth Bishop societies.

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