Posts Tagged ‘Bishop’

I’m a line! I’ll do WHATEVER I wanna do!!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Lines do what they want to do?

  • Focus of process and form
  • Not on depth
  • Form grows out of the content

Do you agree or disagree?

Things that make me think of Tangled

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The Armadillo isn’t my favorite Bishop poem, I wish Bishop had focused more on the armadillo in the poem-it’s only given three lines-especially since the title brings the focus to it. I also wish I knew more of Bishop’s life while she wrote this, I think that would give a bit more insight into the poem, whether Bishop wanted it to or not. And although this isn’t my favorite Bishop poem, I love the stark difference between watching these beautiful lanterns float up into the sky versus the destruction they create when they fall. I also loved the idea that someone brought up in class, that the Armadillo is a representation of Robert Lowell. I think the armadillo represents Lowell in relation to his depression. Instead of seeing the lanterns as beautiful floating lights in the sky, he was there when the beauty turned into destruction. He couldn’t do anything but hide and run away, much like some of the effects of depression. I think making the armadillo represent a person takes the poem to another level, and I already like how many levels this poem has the more I read it (religion, beauty vs. danger, religious love vs. romantic love, black and white). That is one thing I admire about Bishop, how her poems seem to be very straight forward the first time you read them, but as you re-read they become less and less one-sided.


The Bishop Challenge

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Give us a decent sestina.  You must follow the designated word pattern and will impress us if you can also maintain a regularish meter.  A few cheating hints: choose your six words and, on a page, put them in at the ends of the lines where they must appear so you can visualize it.  Choose at least one word that is flexible—e.g., may be used as a noun or a verb or has several definitions (break), or has homophones (to, two, too).

The Rules:

Each end word is represented here by a number.  In six full stanzas, words at ends of lines must follow this order:

Stanza 1: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Stanza 2: 6, 1, 5, 2, 4, 3

Stanza 3: 3, 6, 4, 1, 2, 5

Stanza 4: 5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 4

Stanza 5: 4, 5, 1, 3, 6, 2

Stanza 6: 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 1

Stanza 7 (envoy): 2—5, 4—3, 6—1 (three lines, first word is internal and second at line’s end.  For our purposes, if you get all six words into your envoy, any order is okay.)

Bishop’s First Death in Nova Scotia

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

So far of the Elizabeth Bishop poems we have read, my favorite is First Death in Nova Scotia. Oh my goodness, the imagery in this poem makes me so ecstatic when I should be depressed! The descriptions of the cold and snow when describing not only the weather, but the young boy’s corpse is enough to make me feel the chill myself. I especially enjoy the line where Bishop compares her cousin Arthur’s coffin to a “little frosted cake.” The winter imagery is fantastically done and evokes emotions for me of my first funeral. I feel that in part this poem is about Bishop’s conscious first experience with death and funerals. I admire the way she also makes the story similar to a child’s view of the situation with references to princes and royalty and Jack Frost alongside of death. These child-like images contrast as well as try to make sense of the reality of death. I believe this poem also shows us the beauty of death while still expressing the coldness and sadness of it. God, I just cannot get enough of this poem!

Take It To The Blog!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

As if some internal alarm is at work, Professor Scanlon can always be counted on to shout this five-word phrase at 11:50am every MWF: Take-It-To-The-Blog! Like many of you, I’m guilty of repeating the saying in my head via the context of this JT chart-topper, but that’s beside the point. I need some closure on “Arrival At Santos.”

Unlike many of you, I am not an English major–though I sometimes wish I could do my girl Upma a solid and fake a tour as one–but an anthropology major. My field is not so terrible unlike yours. My aim is to understand culture, not only how it is shaped, but how it shapes the world around it. Call me crazy, but Bishop seems to have a similar intent.

From where I stand, it looks like our poet aims to debunk the romance of tourism, by exposing the tourist itself. Her portrayal is of an ignorant, shallow first world citizen, anticiptating the experience that is “owed to them”. That is, a run in with the authentic.

This concept is an important one in the anthropological study of tourism. The “authentic” is most often sought out by members the Western bourgeoisie population, which we know to be heavily plagued by a productive, capitalist or otherwise synthetic lifestyle. Feeling unfulfilled by this existence, tourists from these regions travel to less developed countries in the hopes that interaction with the native people and/or the natural landscape will bring them the satisfaction they seek. YET, they fail to understand, that tourism, no matter where is located, is inherently capitalist. Recreations of what are marketed as “authentic” practices (such as Hawaiian hula dances or Amazonian Healing ceremonies) are just that (reactions) and the truly authentic (the everyday) is overlooked as being too mundane, and thus, unworthy of the tourist gaze.

Taking this concept, and applying it to Bishop:

The speaker is unimpressed by the port scene. (S)he oversimplifies the scenery calling it “meager” and “self-pitying” in the first stanza, then professes “we leave Santos at once, we are driving to the interior”(“interior” a.k.a. heartland, more isolated and thus authentic region of the country).

What the speaker needs to understand: (Ironic as it may be,) the port scene is as authentically Brazilian as this trip’s gonna get.

Elizabeth Bishop’s “At the Fishhouses”

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

I can’t help but feel let down to the ending of “At the Fishhouses” by Bishop.  I was completely immersed in her images; I was feeling the tone, the descriptions, the seal, just everything until I reach the last page and find:  “It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:/dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free…”.
For me, this hit-me-over-the-head summary of “see? look what analogy I was making all along!” was highly disappointing.  Of course, I do feel silly criticizing her work considering I’m just a student, however, I wonder why she chose to end what was an otherwise compelling, already rich poem in this way?  Am I giving to much weight to these final lines?  She could have ended this so much more subtly, with another simple image of her friend’s grandfather or, (why not?), even more fish, and I feel as if the reader would have benefitted more because they would be able to draw their own conclusions as to whether this poem really was “about” knowledge, or if it was about solitude, isolation, life cycles, or anything else instead.  Maybe I’m reading this wrong, maybe not, but I would love to understand why she chose this ending.

Courtney Cherico