Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery

Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery

Paperback Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Series

By (author) Jo Shapcott, By (author) Linda Anderson

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  • Publisher: BLOODAXE BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 211mm x 15mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Tyne and Wear
  • ISBN 10: 1852245565
  • ISBN 13: 9781852245566
  • Sales rank: 1,078,234

Product description

Elizabeth Bishop is one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. When she died in 1979, she had only published four collections, yet had won virtually every major American literary award, including the Pulitzer Prize. She maintained close friendships with poets such as Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell, and her work has always been highly regarded by other writers. In surveys of British poets carried out in 1984 and 1994 she emerged as a surprising major choice or influence for many, from Andrew Motion and Craig Raine to Kathleen Jamie and Lavinia Greenlaw. A virtual orphan from an early age, Elizabeth Bishop was brought up by relatives in New England and Nova Scotia. The tragic circumstances of her life - from alcoholism to repeated experiences of loss in her relationships with women - nourished an outsider's poetry notable both for its reticence and tentativeness. She once described a feeling that 'everything is interstitial' and reminds us in her poetry - in a way that is both radical and subdued - that understanding is at best provisional and that most vision is peripheral. Since her death, a definitive edition of Elizabeth Bishop's "Complete Poems" (1983) has been published, along with "The Collected Prose" (1984), her letters in "One Art" (1994), her paintings in "Exchanging Hats" (1996) and Brett C. Millier's important biography (1993). In America, there have been numerous critical studies and books of academic essays, but in Britain only studies by Victoria Harrison (1995) and Anne Stevenson (1998) have done anything to raise Bishop's critical profile. "Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery" is the first collection of essays on Bishop to be published in Britain, and draws on work presented at the first UK Elizabeth Bishop conference, held at Newcastle University. It brings together papers by both academic critics and leading poets, including Michael Donaghy, Vicki Feaver, Jamie McKendrick, Deryn Rees-Jones and Anne Stevenson. Academic contributors include Professor Barbara Page of Vassar College, home of the Elizabeth Bishop Papers.

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Author information

Linda Anderson is Professor of Modern English and American Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and has helped to design a new MA in Writing Poetry in the Department of English Literary & Linguistic Studies. Her publications include Plotting Change: Contemporary Women's Fiction (Edward Arnold, 1990), Women and Autobiography in the Twentieth Century (Prentice Hall, 1997) and Autobiography (Routledge, 2000), and she is co-editor with David Alderson of Territories of Desire: Contemporary Queer Culture (Manchester University Press, 2000). She is now writing a critical book on Elizabeth Bishop. Jo Shapcott is one of Britain's leading poets. She has twice won the National Poetry Competition, and won the Forward Prize in 1999. She was Northern Arts Literary Fellow at the universities of Newcastle and Durham in 1998-2000, and is Visiting Professor of Poetry at Newcastle University and at the University of the Arts, London; she also teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College. She is president of the Poetry Society. Her poetry books include Electroplating the Baby (Bloodaxe Books, 1988), Phrase Book (OUP, 1992), My Life Asleep (OUP, 1998), Her Book (Faber, 1999) and Tender Taxes, including her versions from Rilke's French poems (Faber, 2001). She co-edited the anthology Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times (Faber, 1996) with Matthew Sweeney and Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery (Bloodaxe / Newcastle University, 2002) with Linda Anderson.