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Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop [Paperback]

Anne Stevenson

Price: £9.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

10 Feb 2006
Elizabeth Bishop is one of the greatest and most influential American poets of the 20th century. First published in hardback in 1998, "Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop" is a highly illuminating reader's guide written by another leading poet, which makes full use of the letters Elizabeth Bishop wrote to Anne Stevenson from Brazil in the 1960s. Anne Stevenson is a major American and British poet who has published many books of poetry, including her "Poems 1955-2005" in 2005. Her other books include "Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath" (1989), the first critical study of "Elizabeth Bishop" (1966), and a book of essays, "Between the Iceberg and the Ship" (1998). Each of her five chapters looks at a different aspect of Bishop's art. "In the Waiting Room" links her life-long search for self-placement to her unsettled childhood. "Time's Andromeda" shows how a youthful fascination with 17th-century baroque art ripened, in the 1930s, into a unique brand of metaphysical surrealism. "Living with the Animals" considers ways in which Bishop, like Walt Whitman, deserted the literary mode of the fable to give autonomy and authority to natural creatures. Two final chapters focus on the poet's Darwinian acceptance of evolutionary change and her steady look at the 'geographical mirror' that in her later work replaced the figure of the looking-glass as an emblem of imagination. "Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop" represents a view of her work Bishop herself would have recognised and approved. A chronology and a set of maps serve as practical guides to the poet's life and travels. 'A compelling book; patiently and intelligently, Stevenson elucidates and illuminates her subject, relating work and life with exemplary tact. I read it with mounting excitement and, ultimately, gratitude. In a healthy culture, it would be a bestseller' - Lachlan Mackinnon, "Thumbscrew". 'Biography and close reading of Bishop's poems and prose...complement each other in [this study] which must surely be the best available introduction to that marvellous poet' - John Mole, "TLS".

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Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop + Poems: The Centenary Edition + Prose: The Centenary Edition
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd; annotated edition edition (10 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852247258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852247256
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 1.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 451,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

anne stevenson was born in Cambridge, England, in 1933, of American parents, and grew up in New England and Michigan. She studied music, European literature and history at the University of Michigan, returning later to read English and publishing the first critical study of Elizabeth Bishop. After several trans-atlantic switches, she settled in Britain in 1964, and has since lived in Cambridge, Scotland, Oxford, the Welsh Borders and latterly in North Wales and Durham. She has held many literary fellowships, and was the inaugural winner of Britain's biggest literary prize, the Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award, in 2002.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So Why Don't You Like It? 21 May 2014
By tom lovatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hard to say. Stevenson is herself a poet and the author of one of the better biographies of Sylvis Plath.
Her writing is careful and earnest and often insightful but somehow unrevealing of Bishop as a poet. Stevenson's examination of a given poem made me think of a house being dismantled plank by plank. All the elements are carefully pulled apart and neatly piled, but the over all effect is pedantic and dry. This is one of the earliest pieces of critical writing on Bishop and perhaps suffers by comparison to much that came later [David Kalstone's criticism, for example].
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