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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:00 PM

a biography of the day-elizabeth bishop (poet, writer)

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop at Vassar
Born February 8, 1911
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Died October 6, 1979 (aged 68)
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Occupation Poet
Nationality United States
Literary movement Modernism
Partner(s) Lota de Macedo Soares (19521967)
Alice Methfessel (19711979)

Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 October 6, 1979) was an American poet, short-story writer, and recipient of the 1976 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956[1] and the National Book Award winner in 1970.[2]
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From 1949 to 1950, she was the Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress, and lived at Bertha Looker's Boardinghouse, 1312 30th Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., in Georgetown.[14] In 1946, Marianne Moore suggested Bishop for the Houghton Mifflin Prize for poetry which Bishop won. Her first book, North & South, was published in 1,000 copies. The book prompted the literary critic Randall Jarrell to write that all her poems have written underneath, 'I have seen it,'" referring to Bishop's talent for vivid description.[15]
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It was during her time in Brazil that Elizabeth Bishop became increasingly interested in the languages and literatures of Latin America.[18] She was influenced by South and Central American poets, including the Mexican poet, Octavio Paz, as well as the Brazilian poets Joo Cabral de Melo Neto and Carlos Drummond de Andrade and translated their work into English. Regarding de Andrade, she said, "I didn't know him at all. He's supposed to be very shy. I'm supposed to be very shy. We've met once on the sidewalk at night. We had just come out of the same restaurant, and he kissed my hand politely when we were introduced."[19] After Soares took her own life in 1967 Bishop spent more time in the US.[20][21]
Literary style and identity

Bishop did not see herself as a "lesbian poet" or as a "female poet." In part, because Bishop refused to have her work published in all-female poetry anthologies, other female poets, involved with the women's movement thought she was hostile to the movement. For instance, one of her students at Harvard whow as close to Bishop in the 60s, Kathleen Spivack wrote in her memoir, "I think Bishop internatlized the misogyny of the time. How could she not?. . . Bishop had a very ambivalent relation to being a woman plus poet--plus lesbian--in the Boston/Cambridge/Harvard nexus. . .Extremely vulnerable, sensitive, she hid much of her private life. She wanted nothing to do with anything that seemed to involve the women's movement. She internalized many of the male attitudes of the day toward women, who were supposed to be attractive, appealing to men, and not ask for equal pay or a job with benefits."[22] However, this was not how Bishop necessarily viewed herself. In an interview with The Paris Review from 1978, she said that, despite her insistence on being excluded from female poetry anthologies, she still considered herself to be "a strong feminist" but that she only wanted to be judged based on the quality of her writing and not on her gender or sexual orientation.[3][23] Also, where some of her notable contemporaries like Robert Lowell and John Berryman made the intimate details of their personal lives an important part of their poetry, Bishop avoided this practice altogether.[24]

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