Elizabeth Bishop: dwelling without roots
Chaired by Fiona Sampson
Since her death in 1979, the reputation of Elizabeth Bishop has grown to the point that she is now regarded as one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century. Her small body of work (she published only 101 poems during her lifetime) is distinguished by its precise description of the physical world, by grief, and by the struggle to find a sense of belonging. During her early childhood her mother was committed to an asylum, and she grew up first with grandparents and then with an aunt – ‘I was always sort of a guest,’ she wrote, ‘and I think I’ve always felt like that.’ In a talk chaired by fellow poet Fiona Sampson, Linda Anderson, an author and academic who has written extensively on twentieth-century women’s poetry and Elizabeth Bishop, marks the centenary of Bishop’s birth by exploring her genius.
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