Synopses & Reviews
From the mid-1930s to 1978 Elizabeth Bishop published some ninety poems and thirty translations. Yet her notebooks reveal that she embarked upon many more compositions, some existing in only fragmentary form and some embodied in extensive drafts. Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box presents, alongside facsimiles of many notebook pages from which they are drawn, poems Bishop began soon after college, reflecting her passion for Elizabethan verse and surrealist technique; love poems and dream fragments from the 1940s; poems about her Canadian childhood; and many other works that heretofore have been quoted almost exclusively in biographical and critical studies. This revelatory and moving selection brings us into the poet's laboratory, showing us the initial provocative images that moved Bishop to begin a poem, illustrating terrain unexplored in the work published during her lifetime. Editor Alice Quinn has also mined the Bishop archives for rich tangential material that illuminates the poet's sources and intentions.
"You are living in a world created by Elizabeth Bishop . . . nothing matches the impact of a great artist, and in the second half of the 20th century, no American artist in any medium was greater than Bishop (1911-79). That she worked in one of our country's least popular fields, poetry, doesn't matter. That she was a woman doesn't matter. That she was gay doesn't matter. That she was an alcoholic, and expatriate and essentially an orphan--none of this matters. What matters is that she left behind a body of work that teaches us, as Italo Calvino once said of literature generally, 'a method subtle and flexible enough to be the same thing as an absence of any method whatever.' The publication of Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box, which gathers for the first time Bishop's unpublished material, isn't just a significant event in our poetry; it's part of a continuing alteration in the scale of American life . . . Quinn's notes throughout are superb . . . This is the devoted editing this material needed and deserved." -David Orr, The New York Times Book Review (cover review)
A collection of previously unpublished drafts and partial works by Elizabeth Bishop includes pieces that were started in her early adulthood about her love for Elizabethan verse and surrealist technique, dream fragments from the 1940s, and poems about her Canadian childhood. Reprint.
Gathering Bishop's unpublished material for the first time, this revelatory and moving selection enters her laboratory, showing the initial provocative images that moved the poet to begin writing and illustrating terrain unexplored in the work published during her lifetime.
About the Author
(1911-79) won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Alice Quinn is poetry editor of The New Yorker and the director of the Poetry Society of America.