The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop Essay

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Pages: 7

The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop:
A Personal Response
In my answer I will be talking about my ideas on the themes, styles, and images in the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. Elizabeth Bishop was born on the 8th of February 1911 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father died when she was eight months old and her mother, in shock, was sent to a mental hospital for five years. They were separated in 1916 until her mother finally died in 1934. She was raised by her grandparents in Nova Scotia.
There are four main themes in the poetry of Bishop. These include nature, childhood, domesticity/motherhood, and the resilience of the human spirit. The two poems I will be discussing about in my answer related to the following themes are ‘Sestina’ and ‘The
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The repetition of “somebody” appears to be a method of ignoring who this person might be even though the association is obvious. Bishop seems to be hiding from the realisation, reinforcing the thoughts that this is about her own lack of a mother.
One of the things I love the most about the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop is the imagery. Elizabeth Bishop is well-known for her ability to take the mundane or most unimportant things in life and use her imagination to change it into something completely out of the ordinary. ‘The Fish’ is a great example of this. Elizabeth Bishop is renowned to write poetry about the beauty of poetry. This poem is not an exception. Bishop merely catches a fish, yet by her imagination and creativity, which is a part of her poetry, she is able to imagine the fish beyond what it is, not only talking about its skin but also talking about its innards and portraying it as a war veteran. In fact, the ending speaks of how Bishop even begins to see the colours of the rainbow. Sad to say, the poem focuses more on poetry itself; it is unlikely the poem is speaking of morality or life and death between herself and the fish. This is what makes it such a great poem.
The main thing I like about this poem is the vivid imagery Bishop gives, especially when describing the fish. In this poem, the central image is of the poet holding the fish beside her rented boat. There are three main groups of factual images.