Synopses & Reviews
Presented in two sections, "Memory: Persons and Places" and "Stories," this book offers the collected prose writings of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), one of America's most celebrated and admired poets. The selections are arranged not by date of compostion, but in biographical order, such that reading this volume greatly enriches one's understanding of Bishop's life--and thus her poetry as well. "Bishop's admirers will want to consult her Collected Prose
for the light it sheds on her poetry," as David Lehman wrote in Newsweek
. "They will discover, however, that it is more than just a handsome companion volume to [her] Complete Poems
. . . . Bishop's clean, limpid prose makes her stories and memoirs a delight to read. . . . One regrets only that this volume cannot be added to in years to come."
"The Collected Prose
appears in the same spruce format as The Complete Poems
, and it doubles what we possess of Bishop's writing. Robert Giroux [her longtime editor and friend] has arranged the book according to a sketch found among Bishop's papers after her death; he has reconstructed from nearly complete fragments her pungent memoir of her mentor, Marianne Moore; and in his affectionate introduction, he has brought to life the circumstances under which these pieces were written. . . . It is no exaggeration to say that these stories will be read beside her poems, as Keat's letters are beside his. . . . 'The Sea & Its Shore' and 'In Prison' [are] worthy of Kafka or Poe."--David Kalstone, The New York Times Book Review
"A stunning collection. . . . These are the kind of stories you should linger over, savor, and rediscover again and again."--Elin Schoen, Mademoiselle
"A record of merciless observation, full of surprises both tragic and comic. . . . Again and again, in these pages, it is the precision that astonishes. . . . So often what Bishop gives us are these small, exact glimpses of the mundane, shorn of all rhetorical indulgence. But when looking is thus transformed, will any word but 'vision' do?"--April Bernard, Newsday
The quality of Elizabeth Bishop's prose is as distinctive and personal as that of her poems. This rich collection, compiled by her editor, Robert Giroux, is arranged in two parts, fiction and nonfiction.
About the Author
(1911-79) remains one of America's most celebrated and admired postwar poets. She won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her verse, and served as Poetry Consultant at the Library of Congress in 1949-50.