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The Complete Poems, 1927-79 Hardcover – Apr 1983

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Apr 1983
£10.97
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st edition edition (April 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701126949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701126940
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,606,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Elizabeth Bishop was vehement about her art--a perfectionist who didn't want to be seen as a "woman poet". In 1977, two years before her death she wrote, "art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc., into two sexes is to emphasize values in them that are not art." She also deeply distrusted the dominant mode of modern poetry, one practiced with such detached passion by her friend Robert Lowell, the confessional.

Bishop was unforgiving of fashion and limited ways of seeing and feeling, but cast an even more trenchant eye on her own work. One wishes this volume were thicker, though the perfections within mark the rightness of her approach. The poems are sublimely controlled, fraught with word play, fierce moral vision (see her caustic ballad on Ezra Pound, "Visits to St Elizabeths") and reticence. From the surreal sorrow of the early "Man-Moth" (leaping off from a typo she had come across for "mammoth"), about a lonely monster who rarely emerges from "the pale subways of cement he calls his home", to the beauty of her villanelle "One Art" (with its repeated "the art of losing isn't hard to master"), the poet wittily explores distance and desolation, separation and sorrow. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Beautiful new edition of Bishop's Complete Poems with a new Introduction by Tom Paulin, poet, academic & favourite of BBC 2's Newsnight Review audiences --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For many, Bishop is the quintessential American poet of the twentieth century. Subtle, crafted and frequently surreal, her poems tend to centre on loss, travel and the way we understand ourselves through the physical world around us. Her exquisite acts of describing islands, animals, ports and quietly untidy human habitations on the fringes show a thinking, exhiliratingly alert mind in action. This is oblique and layered poetry which reveals more on each re-reading. Her sestinas and villanelle 'One Art' are also the best in the business. This edition contains all her best known poems including 'The Bight', 'Crusoe in England', 'The Armadillo', 'Sandpiper', 'The Map' and 'The Fish'. Give it a try: these beautiful poems will stay with you long afterwards.
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Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Bishop's accute observations provide a fascinating insight into the mysteries that surround her. The poet's confusion over identity and belonging are artfully moulded in a series of fine poems, some semi-autobiographical, which explore the nature of travel and self.
The first poem in the collection, 'The Map', explores the importance of place, whilst 'Questions of Travel' marks a shift in her ideology. Bishop questions: "Is it right to be watching strangers in a play/ in this strangest of theatres?" and wonders whether we should "have stayed at home,/ wherever that may be?"
Bishop's detailed observations are perhaps most extraordinary in her contemplation of animals. Her animal poems, including 'The Moose', 'The Fish' and 'Roosters' are curious and insightful in their exploration of the animal kingdom and the effects animals have on humans.
In addition the wonders of childhood are developed in many of her poems, with 'Sestina' and 'First Death in Nova Scotia' being especially poignant in their pathos.
Bishop's accessible style makes the reading of her 'Complete Poems' a treat. You cannot help but become enthralled by the mysterious poet.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this when I was at university several years ago. I enjoyed reading it then and still enjoy it now. I think that's a good measure of a poet. Bishop's poems have a timeless quality to them, thanks to her precise, almost obsessive, way of looking at her subjects (such as the venerable old fish in 'The Fish', for instance, which is speckled and has 'barnacles,/fine rosettes of lime,/and infested/with tiny white sea-lice'). Poems like 'Roosters', 'At the Fishhouses' and 'In the Waiting Room' show this quite well. If you're after a definitive collection from one of the defining American poets of the twentieth century, buy this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I had previously heard one of the poems 'One Art' read on the film 'In Her Shoes' starring Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz. I really loved the poem so decided that I would buy the book so that I could see other poems by the same author.
I was worried that it was going to be like when you hear a good song on the radio and so you go out and buy that album and it turns out that the actual album is rubbish, but that was not the case with this book. I love it.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot be objective: Bishop was a friend since HS, throughout the Vassar College years and beyond, of my mentor and patron Rhoda Sheehan; in fact, Bishop rented Rhoda's "Hurricane House" that floated over Westport Harbor in the '38 hurricane. That's where I met her once, individually, and asked her about prosody. I never realized until I read a Bishop biography, maybe Remembering Elizabeth Bishop, how much effort Rhoda must have put into getting Bishop to talk to me. She dreaded students, even when she was fairly remunerated out at U WA when she took over a year or two for Roethke.
Fairly remunerated she was not by my humble Bristol Community College (MA), where she gave readings three years in a row in the late 70s, when she'd come back from Brazil--and when her longtime Brazilian friend committed suicide. One of those "readings" she played and discussed sambas--how everyone in Brazil wrote them, the janitor, the poet laureate. She played a few on an old 78 phonograph, to an audience of perhaps 25, while our community college students on break from class were in the next "room" (divided by a supposed wall, movable) playing rock on 6' speakers by their pool table. I recall thinking at the time: One major trouble with modern life is that the wrong people (and interests) have the best megaphones and speakers.
Since Rhoda was her friend, Bishop came to talk for a Department outlay of $100, too low for administrators to care about the event. A decade earlier we had had Ginsberg and even WH Auden (then priced at $3500) to read. By the late 80s, no adminstrator knew the distinguished history of our poetry readings, and when they came up with $1500 inflated dollars to tinvite a Pawtucket poet (with some name, yes), they bragged about "our first prominent poetry reading.
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This is poetry at its best: creative, clever, moving and ALWAYS comprehensible. The copy I received although far from new, was in fine condition.
Ms Bishop's beautifully couched observations on life and on the human condition will, I'm sure, help me see all in a new light for many years to come.
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