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Poems, Elizabeth Bishop
Please enjoy the last of our National Poetry Month reviews, a couple days late.
BISHOP, Elizabeth. Poems. 352p. Farrar. 2011. pap. $16. ISBN 978-0-374-53236-9. LC 2010038535.
Adult/High School–Bishop (1911-1979) received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award for Poetry in 1970 for her Complete Poems. This new edition of her collected poetry was released in celebration of the centennial of her birth. Being independently wealthy, Bisop was able to travel and live abroad. Many of her poems treat her travels, and she knew Portuguese, French, and Spanish well enough to translate the work of other major poets. Her poems will be appreciated by teens for their accessible style. “Questions of Travel,” the title poem from a book set in Brazil, is a good example. “There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams/ hurry too rapidly down to the sea,/ and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops/ turning to waterfalls under our very eyes./ For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,/ aren’t waterfalls yet,/ in a quick age or so, as ages go here,/ they probably will be.” “North Haven” was written in memory of her friend Robert Lowell. “You left North Haven, anchored in its rock,/ afloat in mystic blue…And now—you’ve left/ for good. You can’t derange, or re-arrange,/ your poems again.” This is a fine collection that students will want to read and ponder, including the collection of facsimiles of previously unpublished poems at its conclusion.–Karlan Sick, formerly at New York Public Library
Filed under: Poetry
About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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