Distinguished Women of Past and Present


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Elizabeth Bishop

From: Canada, United States: Massachusetts
Fields: Education, Literature and Poetry
Bishop, Elizabeth (1911-1979), American poet, best known for her poems that examine the physical world in minute detail. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bishop grew up in New England and in Nova Scotia. She was educated at Vassar College, where she founded a literary magazine with Mary McCarthy, who would become a novelist. Bishop's first book, North & South, was published in 1946; it was later expanded and reprinted as North & South-A Cold Spring (1955). For this revised edition she received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1956. Bishop traveled extensively throughout her life and at various times lived in New York City, Florida, Mexico, and Brazil. She also taught at Harvard University from 1970 to 1977. She was influenced and admired by the American poets Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell. Bishop's Complete Poems (1969) won the National Book Award in 1970. Commonplace objects and occurrences had unusual symbolic meanings for Bishop, and many of her poems take the form of meditations on external objects and events. Her linguistic precision and focus on the external world notwithstanding, Bishop's work carries strong emotions. Travel is a major theme in her verse, and in many of her poems, Bishop highlights the sense of strangeness that can underlie even ordinary events. She also wrote short stories, many for The New Yorker magazine. Bishop's works include Questions of Travel (1965), a volume of poetry; Brazil (1967), a travel book; An Anthology of 20th Century Brazilian Poetry (1972), which she edited; and Geography III (1976), her last collection of poems.

"Bishop, Elizabeth" Microsoft® Encarta.
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