Wednesday, February 2, 2011

100 Years of Elizabeth Bishop

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of an important and award winning poet with ties to Nova Scotia.

Elizabeth Bishop was born February 8th, 1911 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Beginning in the 1940s, Bishop published poetry to great acclaim and became one of America's preeminent poets. A winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Bishop was also US Poet Laureate from 1949-1950.

Although a US citizen, many Nova Scotians are familiar with Bishop's Canadian connection. Bishop's father died when she was only an infant: her mother grappled with mental illness in the years following his death. During Bishop's mother's ill health, they visited and eventually came to live with with Bishops' maternal grandparents in Great Village, Nova Scotia. When her mother was admitted to the Nova Scotia hospital in 1916, Elizabeth Bishop spent the next year or more living with her grandparents, before returning to the US to live with her relatives there.

Although she spent only a short portion of her childhood living in Nova Scotia, it clearly had a strong impact on her. Some of her poetry features the province as a setting: both reminiscences of her childhood and inspired by return visits in adulthood.

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia has existed since 1994, to "celebrate the life and work of the poet Elizabeth Bishop" and "seeks through its various activities to reclaim Elizabeth Bishop as a Nova Scotia writer, thus enriching our literary and cultural heritage". Beginning on February 8th this year, the society is hosting a number of events to celebrate the Bishop's life and achievements. Visit the society web page to find out more about events. If you are interested in Bishop's poetry or her life in Nova Scotia, you might be interested in one of the following titles:

Deep Skin: Elizabeth Bishop and visual art
by Peggy Samuels

Elizabeth Bishop : an archival guide to her life in Nova Scotia
by Sandra Barry.

Elizabeth Bishop: life and the memory of it
by Brett C. Millier.

Elizabeth Bishop's Poetics of Description

by Zachariah Pickard

The Complete Poems, 1927-1979
by Elizabeth Bishop

The Collected Prose
by Elizabeth Bishop

One Art : letters

by Elizabeth Bishop

Words in Air : the complete correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell
Edited by Thomas Travisano, with Saskia Hamilton.

No comments:

Post a Comment