ONE ART – Poem, by Elizabeth Bishop

From 1970 to 1977 she taught at Harvard University. Her poems were published in The New Yorker and in other magazines. Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester (Massachusetts, USA), in 1911. She experienced the deep warmth of parents, who were quite in love with each other and with their new daughter only few months. The events of her early childhood (death of her father, childhood at her maternal grandparents and aunt, because her mother was in hospital for 18 years) gave the nascent artist a profound sense of the fragility of home and family. After graduation, she often traveled abroad. She had a very ambiguous relationship with being a woman and a poet, hiding much of her private life. Her first book of poems dates back to 1946. Much of her subsequent work gravitated on the dichotomy of a consciousness floating between New England and the Tropics, meditating on the value of art in human life and the need for exploration.

ELISABETH BISHOP, an American poet, well-known for her spiritual and descriptive verses, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1956, the National Book Award in 1970 and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1976. She was influenced by poet Marianne Moore, who helped her to publish some of her poems in an anthology, where affirmed poets presented works of unknown young poets. Her writing style was known for her reticence on personal subject genres (she always used discretion when writing details of people and their life). After her death, Bishop pilgrims have been knocking on the door of the Elizabeth Bishop House since 1980, wanting to experience that sensation of stepping into part of this great poet’s imagination. Elizabeth Bishop House, has been dedicated to her memory. In 2015 the house was sold and is once again a single-family home.

ONE ARTThe art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. Even losing you – the joking voice, a gesture – I love I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master though it may look like – write it – like disaster.

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