Thursday, March 4, 2010

Elizabeth Bishop


“The Man-Moth” (1946)
“One Art” (1976)

I read this poem as a female persona; male works too, but the details of losing rivers and a continent seem autobiographical of Bishop’s time in South America.

It seems like this was a therapeutic thought. At the end, we see that the speaker has lost her love, and this opens up the rest of the poem. The speaker seemed to have been building strength through remembering earlier losses. She seems to brace herself against the pain. The dash opening the last stanza shows her giving a little. Then she halts on the last line, ‘though it looks like”, and forces herself to continue, ‘(write it!) like disaster.’ (18). She is steeling herself against her feelings, and yet we feel her pain.

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