Remembering Elizabeth Bishop: An Oral Biography

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 408 pages
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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Brazeau - Gary Fountain has added a second stream of narrative, based on extensive research in Bishop's published and unpublished writings.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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Childhood 19111927
Walnut Hill 19271930
Vassar 19301934
New York Europe and Key West 19341940
Key West and New York 1941 1948
Washington D C and Yaddo 19481951
Brazil 19511957
Brazil 19581965
San Francisco 19671969
OuroPreto 19691970
Cambridge 19701973
Cambridge and Boston 19731977
Boston 19771979
Afterword by Bonnie Costello
Notes on Contributors

Seattle 1966
Brazil 19661967

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Page xiv - My search for manuscripts in the summer of 1971 was supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society.

About the author (1994)

Gary Fountain is chair of the English department at Miss Porter's School. The late Peter Brazeau was author of Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered.

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