Taking advantage of the recent publication of her new book and the cover story review in NY Times I chose to continue the celebration of National Poetry Month with Elizabeth Bishop whose poems I cherish. This poem (click to enlarge) and especially the truth of the closing line touched me more than I can remember being moved by any poem previously. I had a recently acquired a degree in History and Political Science and during college had attended very few classes that involved poetry beyond freshman year. The ones that did tended to tread over the familiar ground of the classics or the over-anthologized and we rarely made it to the moderns unless an instructor forced us to read the poetry of the so called 'disenfranchised'. Political poems or poems with an obvious agenda sucked the joy out the whole process for me and so I tended to avoid contemporary poets until after graduation. Bishop's Geography III is one of the collections that expanded my scope to include poets who I came to realize also may have had an agenda but that never let it overshadow or diminish the art.
I also love reading the letters of the literary and Bishop's Collected Letters, One Art , is one the most entertaining volumes of correspondence I have ever dipped into and would recommend it to all who enjoy reading other people's mail.