Remembering Elizabeth Bishop: An Oral Biography
Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 408 pages
Widely regarded as one of America's finest poets, Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) led a turbulent life. She moved from place to place, struggled with alcoholism, and experienced a series of painful losses, even as she won numerous awards for her precise and brilliant poetry. This book presents over 120 interviews with relatives, friends, colleagues, and students, edited and arranged chronologically to follow her from birth to death. To situate the interviews - many conducted by the late Peter Brazeau - Gary Fountain has added a second stream of narrative, based on extensive research in Bishop's published and unpublished writings. The result is a more complete and detailed portrait of the poet than heretofore available - a volume in which those who knew her best bear witness to her life and work. Of particular importance are the detailed descriptions of Bishop's early years, personal relationships, and the dramatic events that shaped her career. Among the interviewees are numerous prominent intellectual and artistic figures, including John Ashbery, Frank Bidart, Robert Duncan, Robert Fitzdale and Arthur Gold, Robert Fitzgerald, Dana Gioia, Robert Giroux, Clement Greenberg, Thom Gunn, John Hollander, Richard Howard, James Laughlin, Mary McCarthy, James Merrill, Howard Moss, Katha Pollitt, Ned Rorem, Lloyd Schwartz, Anne Stevenson, Mark Strand, Rosalyn Tureck, Helen Vendler, and Richard Wilbur. Their recollections provide a telling counterpoint to Bishop's own accounts in her letters and other published works and should lead to a reevaluation of many aspects of her life and to reinterpretations of her poems and prose.
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San Francisco 19671969
Cambridge and Boston 19731977
Afterword by Bonnie Costello
Notes on Contributors
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