Elizabeth Bishop

Here’s a popular poem by Elizabeth Bishop. If you like Frost, you will probably enjoy her work as well. Other, smarter people than myself like to compare and contrast the two of them, perhaps because she’s also a New England poet. Note the delightful repetition in this poem and how it prepares the reader for the last stanza. Read this and then tell me what you think about Frost and Bishop:

Elizabeth Bishop


One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The 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 everyday. 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 (Write it!) like disaster.

(P.S. Here’s an interesting and timely article about the impact of poetry on everyday life. Enjoy!)


One thought on “Elizabeth Bishop

  1. As someone who has a terrible memory, I liked this one. I feel like I lose things in my head all the time, but she’s right. It isn’t really a disaster.

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