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King Library 2nd floor PS3503.I785 Q4 June was Elizabeth Bishop month I especially enjoyed the 31 page poem called In The Village. #DOWNLOAD ô Questions of Travel ⛈ The publication of this book is a literary event It is Miss Bishop s first volume of verse since Poems, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry inThis new collection consists of two parts Under the general heading Brazil are grouped eleven poems including Manuelzinho, The Armadillo, Twelfth Morning, or What You Will, The Riverman, Brazil, January ,and the title poem The second section, entitled Elsewhere, includes others First Death in Nova Scotia, Manners, Sandpiper, From Trollope s Journal, and Visits to St Elizabeths In addition to the poems there is an extraordinary story of a Nova Scotia childhood, In the Village Robert Lowell has recently written, I am sure no living poet is as curious and observant as Miss Bishop What cuts so deep is that each poem is inspired by her own tone, a tone of large, grave tenderness and sorrowing amusement She is too sure of herself for empty mastery and breezy plagiarism, too interested for confession and musical monotony, too powerful for mismanaged fire, and too civilized for idiosyncratic incoherence She has a humorous, commanding genius for picking up the unnoticed, now making something sprightly and right, and now a great monument Once her poems, each shining, were too few Now they are many When we read her, we enter the classical serenity of a new country Paul Graham which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry inThis new collection consists of two parts Under the general heading Brazil are grouped eleven poems including Manuelzinho de Interrogationibus Obliquis Apud Ciceronem Observationes Selectae The Armadillo A Trip to the Zoo Twelfth Morning Las mejores anécdotas del Barça (Deportes) or What You Will To Love Again (Bound Hearts The Riverman All He Needed Brazil A Christmas to Remember January ,and the title poem The second section Step In entitled Elsewhere The Amazing Hairstyles Book includes others First Death in Nova Scotia Le destin funeste de Michael Rockefeller Manners Prinzipien in der Philosophie Sandpiper The Vampire Diaries From Trollope s Journal The Bodies Just Keep Piling Up and Visits to St Elizabeths In addition to the poems there is an extraordinary story of a Nova Scotia childhood Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera In the Village Robert Lowell has recently written Badgers Christmas Day [With Poster] I am sure no living poet is as curious and observant as Miss Bishop What cuts so deep is that each poem is inspired by her own tone Ganz oben ganz unten a tone of large Ich Weiss, Was Hunger Istvon Der Straßengang In Die Sterneküche grave tenderness and sorrowing amusement She is too sure of herself for empty mastery and breezy plagiarism Every Little Girls Dream too interested for confession and musical monotony MARINE too powerful for mismanaged fire Motosiklet Teorisi and too civilized for idiosyncratic incoherence She has a humorous Gravitys Embrace commanding genius for picking up the unnoticed The Mexican Suitcase now making something sprightly and right Kilala Princess, Vol. 05 and now a great monument Once her poems Im So Tired of Other People, Im Dating Myself! each shining Applied Astrology were too few Now they are many When we read her Spate of Violence we enter the classical serenity of a new country Elizabeth Bishop went to Brazil in 1951 and stayed for 15 years, living with her lover, Lota de Macedo Soares The first half of this 1965 volume of poetry, her third, variously documents this extended sojourn titled Brazil, it includes not only lyrics that record her impressions of the country, such as Squatters Children or Song for the Rainy Season, but also excursions into literary forms inspired by it, like the fable The Riverman and the ballad The Burglar of Babylon As the volum Elizabeth Bishop went to Brazil in 1951 and stayed for 15 years, living with her lover, Lota de Macedo Soares The first half of this 1965 volume of poetry, her third, variously documents this extended sojourn titled Brazil, it includes not only lyrics that record her impressions of the country, such as Squatters Children or Song for the Rainy Season, but also excursions into literary forms inspired by it, like the fable The Riverman and the ballad The Burglar of Babylon As the volume s title tells us, travel provokes uncertainties, as it both expands and emphasizes the limits of the self and the localities that formed it Bishop s queries begin with this volume s first piece, Arrival at Santos, wherein our itinerant poet comes to Brazil for the first time and reflects on the ethics of her motive Oh, tourist,is this how this country is going to answer youand your immodest demands for a different world,and a better life, and complete comprehensionof both at last, and immediately,after eighteen days of suspension As if foretelling the Goodreads reviewers who will in the second decade of the 21st century chastise her for her white woman s imperial arrogance, she mocks her own absent minded surprise that things there are not altogether different from things here, even if here is only the set of often ignorant expectations one carries everywhere So that s the flag I never saw it before.I somehow never thought of there being a flag,but of course there was, all along And coins, I presume,and paper money they remain to be seen.For the title poem, our subjectivity so gets in the way of encountering anything outside itself that we might as well not even move ourselves in space at all, since we will only find our desires projected onto an impenetrable mask of otherness, which we have no right anyway to penetrate Should we have stayed at home and thought of here Where should we be today Is it right to be watching strangers in a playin this strangest of theatres On the one hand, the poem s epistemological questions are exemplary enough that they might lead off some anthology s selection of postmodern poetry On the other hand, Emerson, the presiding spirit of the American lyric, wrote in Self Reliance, Traveling is a fool s paradise because m y giant goes with me wherever I go the giant being the self The poem concludes, after a catalogue of all the Brazilian experiences it would have been a pity to miss Never to have studied history in the weak calligraphy of songbirds cages , when the traveller writes the following in her notebook Is it lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places, not just stay at home Or could Pascal have been not entirely right about just sitting quietly in one s room Continent, city, country, society the choice is never wide and never free And here, or thereNo Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be Note the two characteristic postmodern gestures here 1 the metafictional one of calling attention to the poet as writer and the poem as language when the lyric s thus far stately inquiries finally show their provisional origin in notebook jottings 2 and the political one of deconstructing the putatively natural or stable or organic concept of home given that we don t choose where we re from and that all places are equally imagined.Bishop may have been an independently wealthy white woman, but she wasn t stupid See also Brazil, January 1, 1502, wherein Bishop explicitly likens her arrival in Brazil to that of the Portuguese colonizers Just so the Christians, hard as nails,tiny as nails, and glinting,in creaking armor, came and found it all,not unfamiliar no lovers walks, no bowers,no cherries to be picked, no lute music,but corresponding, nevertheless,to an old dream of wealth and luxuryalready out of style when they left home wealth, plus a brand new pleasure.Directly after Mass, humming perhapsL Homme arm or some such tune,they ripped away into the hanging fabric,each out to catch an Indian for himself those maddening little women who kept calling,calling to each other or had the birds waked up and retreating, always retreating, behind it.Bishop s sympathy is perfectly if not voluntarily poised between the ard European men out to extract this utopia s resources what else is Bishop there for if not to acquire something and the indigenous women who protectively disappear behind the mystifying curtain of extravagant nature and inscrutable culture as the anti confessional poet vanishes into the intricacy of her verse Better this honest, unsentimental, and unapologetic self appraisal than the behavior in fashion now a lot of ineffectual hand wringing about privilege by people who couldn t divest themselves of it if they wanted to and they don t.Bishop s self awareness will not excuse for many contemporary readers the other poems in the Brazil section, the ones that today would be dismissed as appropriations neither the jaunty, poignant ballad of The Burglar of Babylon nor the remarkable magic realist fable, based on ian lore, of The Riverman When the moon burns whiteand the river makes that soundlike a primus pumped up high that fast, high whisperinglike a hundred people at once I ll be there belowAnd certainly not Manuelzinho, a dramatic monologue spoken by a friend of the writer Bishop is here using friend the way my grandmother tended to use it, as a euphemism for a gay person s partner the speaker is the rather aristocratic Lota de Macedo Soares, and the subject is her eponymous live in servant with his maddening, quirky ways And once I yelled at youso loud to hurry upand fetch me those potatoesyour holey hat flew off,you jumped out of your clogs,leaving three objects arrangedin a triangle at my feet,as if you d been a gardenerin a fairy tale all this timeand at the word potatoes had vanished to take up your workof fairy prince somewhere.She resolves at the conclusion to love him and implicitly to treat him withpersonal respect, though I reflect that even Tolstoy tried to improve material and educational conditions for the peasants of his estate, not just to change his own frame of mind You paint heaven knows why the outside of the crownand brim of your straw hat.Perhaps to reflect the sun Or perhaps when you were small,your mother said, Manuelzinho,one thing be sure you alwayspaint your straw hat One was gold for a while,but the gold wore off, like plate.One was bright green Unkindly,I called you Klorophyll Kid.My visitors thought it was funny.I apologize here and now.You helpless, foolish man,I love you all I can,I think Or I do I take off my hat, unpaintedand figurative, to you.Again I promise to try.While Bishop could be read as mocking the high handed speaker as much as the object of this speaker s arrogant derision and evenarrogant sympathy such a send up is a customary use for the dramatic monologue even this just reinforces the smug superiority of the poem s humor It s not my favorite in the collection.The second half of the volume, called Elsewhere, leaves Bishop s Brazilian present for her past, largely in Nova Scotia, where she spent her childhood raised by her grandparents after her father s death and her mother s institutionalization Like the poet s notebook writing that concludes Questions of Travel, the end of the book roots its early abstractions and excursions in the poet s own contingent circumstances.If Bishop had earlier written, home, wherever that may be, we begin to understand why when we read the volume s strangest piece, the autobiographical short story In the Village This prose narrative recounts a childhood idyll spent away from home home is where her mother, losing her grip on sanity, screams a scream that haunts the whole reminiscence and the whole of Bishop s childhood A screamhangs there forever, a slight stain in those pure blue skies Her taste for travel, we realize, begins in this escape from disintegrating maternity, this forced expulsion from the nest, with her energetic errands all around the village.These early travels bring her into contact with the warm physicality of animal life and with the many vital and inspiriting varieties of earthly labor in contrast to her mother s neuroticizing immurement in finery I think particularly of Nate the blacksmith, the ring of whose hammer on metal Bishop plays in counterpoint to her mother s scream the defense against madness s noise is the clear ring of craft and the mystery of art.In the blacksmith s shop things hang up in the shadows and shadows hang up in the things, and there are black and glistening piles of dust in each corner A tub of night black water stands by the forge The horseshoes sail through the dark like bloody little moons and follow each other like bloody little moons to drown in the black water, hissing, protesting A later corollary in the collection is Sestina, another portrayal, this time in a most demanding poetic form, of the poet s surreally chaotic childhood Time to plant tears, says the almanac In the Village is an ars poetica in prose Yet as prose it calls on fictional as well as poetic tradition it reminds me of the earlier stories in Dubliners that grew out of Joyce s epiphanic vignettes, or of Katherine Mansfield s great, montage like autobiographical stories of a New Zealand childhood in Prelude or At the Bay, or even, closer to home, Hawthorne s genial but shadowed sketches of New England village life.To conclude, the unease in the whole volume, perhaps its chief question, comes from those imbalances of gender and class identification evoked again and again The poet sympathizes now with Portuguese colonists, now with the village blacksmith, and yet she recoils too from a laboring masculinity that signifies at once salvifically conscientious craftsmanship and acquisitive global tyranny.The critique of masculine imperialism is welcome, but, as with Manuelzinho, when the female spectator looks down on her male social inferiors, we are reminded that a host of anticolonial and postcolonial thinkers linked feminist politics or female literature to imperialism, from James Joyce s observation that Daniel Defoe invented both feminism and imperialism in his two most famous protagonists, Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, to Edward Said s censure of Jane Austen and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak s rebuke to Charlotte Bront and Jean Rhys.Nowhere is Bishop s ambivalenceevident in Questions of Travel than in the charming and disgusting late piece Filling Station This poem expresses the speaker s campily exaggerated abhorrence at the filth of the titular locale and the males who work there and her appreciation of the silent female labor that maintains whatever aesthetic standards the dirty place manages to evince Somebody embroidered the doily.Somebody waters the plant,or oils it, maybe Somebodyarranges the rows of cansso that they softly say ESSO SO SO SOto high strung automobiles.Somebody loves us all.Real genius is always tasteless and troubling, and so with the last line It brings the speaker s distanced from the poet because so overwrought hauteur to a punchline climax But it also makes a sincere feminist protest against the invisibility of female labor that subtends everyday life In linking this creative labor to God who loves us all it further portends female divinity and allies the poet, silent maker of the poem, to the cosmic Creator.Yet its only half ironic afflatus puts working men in their place it is so like a certain strain of obtusely elite bourgeois feminism I think of a celebrity feminist writer who notoriously berated a McDonald s employee for reinforcing the gender binary when he asked her if she wanted a boys or a girls Happy Meal that I don t know whether to marvel or to throw the book at the wall.I marvel I m no poetry expert, but of the so far canonical midcentury American poets I ve read Lowell, Berryman, Ginsberg, Plath, etc , Bishop has always struck me as the only unambiguous great Like all the greats, she is, as the kids say, problematic Moral and political rectitude is always an oversimplification of this incorrigible world, so it is only given to lesser lights.Bishop knows it Questions of Travel ends with Visits to St Elizabeth s, a nursery rhyme on the model of The House that Jack Built about Bishop s sojourns to see Ezra Pound in the mental hospital where he was held in lieu of being shot for treason The poem s escalating and repeating motifs build to an astonishing thunder Adjectives Bishop attaches to Pound, the poet, the man, throughout tragic, talkative, honored, old, brave, cranky, cruel, busy, tedious, wretched While I have no sympathy for Pound s particular form of transgression Bishop didn t either , I want that list on a T shirt, or my tombstone Poetry can be explicably pleasing sometimes Especially for the amateur poetry reader, it s hard to explain why a collection or a particular poem works Questions of Travel is pure pleasure There is nothing over clever or obviously inventive or new about Bishop s poems They contain an element of narrative, of diary like confession, of fly on the wall observation that reads like storytelling in the true sense In a short space and few words, Bishop evokes a scene, a place, and fills it with col Poetry can be explicably pleasing sometimes Especially for the amateur poetry reader, it s hard to explain why a collection or a particular poem works Questions of Travel is pure pleasure There is nothing over clever or obviously inventive or new about Bishop s poems They contain an element of narrative, of diary like confession, of fly on the wall observation that reads like storytelling in the true sense In a short space and few words, Bishop evokes a scene, a place, and fills it with colour and emotion Essentially that is what makes travel beautiful.The collection is split into two The first half are entitled Brazil and are travel tales beginning with Arrival at Santos and diverging into less personal poems as she delves deeper into her destination and discovers its sight, sounds and stories The opening trio are magical, capturing that sense of arriving somewhere new, of being displaced but fascinated by a new country, and the third Questions of Travel is the best of the lot She concentrates on the little details that inform our memories, especially when travelling, on a tiny green hummingbird, a broken gasoline pump or a sunset But it is full of dreams and questions too, one in particular Is it the lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places Should we have stayed at home, whenever that may be A lot of the poems that follow are narrative in a sense, stories watched by the outsider, the traveller Manuelzinho , The Burglar of Babylon and The Riverman have an air of folk tale mixed with social commentary Others like Electrical Storm and Song for the Rainy Season paint pictures of travelling scenes All of them are great The second half, called Elsewhere , looks back at those questions of home and seems to make the point that everwhere, at home or on the road, can paint a picture for us While the longer, prose poem In the Village is somewhat disappointing the rest are almost as good as the first half Sandpiper and Filling Station are particularly evocative The final poem, Visits to St Elisabeths shows aplayful side to Bishop s poetry a strictly structured poem that reads like a nusery rhyme with it s song like repetitions From start to finish a brilliant collection 8 Elizabeth Bishop s first two collections were written during the poet s early life ranging up and down the Eastern Seaboard, the observational poems within are inspired by experiences in Nova Scotia, New England or Florida Her third collection Questions of Travel is very different indeed, for in late 1951 at the age of 40, Bishop set off for Brazil where she would remain for 15 years after beginning a relationship with the architect Lota de Macedo Soares Suddenly Bishop s careful eye came to Elizabeth Bishop s first two collections were written during the poet s early life ranging up and down the Eastern Seaboard, the observational poems within are inspired by experiences in Nova Scotia, New England or Florida Her third collection Questions of Travel is very different indeed, for in late 1951 at the age of 40, Bishop set off for Brazil where she would remain for 15 years after beginning a relationship with the architect Lota de Macedo Soares Suddenly Bishop s careful eye came to focus with ethnographical curiosity on South America.Indeed, the very first poem in the collection recounts the arrival of Bishop s steamer in the Brazil port city of Santos Here is a coast, here is a harbor here, after a meager diet of horizon is some scenery impractically shaped and who knows self pitying mountainssad and harsh beneath their frivolous greenery Oh, touristis this how this country is going to answer you and your immodest demands for a different world, and for a better lifeOnce Bishop landed, local colour took over her poetry There are two poems on squatters settling around Rio de Janeiro, a long ballad on a notorious criminal that escaped prison and was shot by police in his home shantytown he fled to for refuge, and mentions of indigenous ian practices.Not all of the book is set in Brazil, however The second half of the book is titled Elsewhere and consists of poems and recollections from the United States Probably the most famous poem in the book, and in Bishop s entire career, is Visits to St Elizabeth , written when Bishop was Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress and often went to see Ezra Pound, then locked up in an insane asylum Bishop casts the poem in the form of the children s rhyme This is the house that Jack built This is the house of Bedlam This is the man that lies in the house of Bedlam This is the time of the tragic man that lies in the house of Bedlam This is a wristwatch telling the time of the talkative man that lies in the house of Bedlam This is a sailor wearing the watch that tells the time of the honored man that lies in the house of Bedlam This is a Jew in a newspaper hat that dances carefully down the ward, walking the plank of a coffin board with the crazy sailor that shows his watch that tells the time of the wretched man that lies in the house of Bedlam But the material in Elsewhere is mainly concerned with Bishop s childhood, which was a sad one as her father died early and her mother went mad and had to be institutionalized, leaving Bishop to be brought up by her parents in Nova Scotia The prose piece In the Village , the only one in this book and the first to ever appear in a Bishop collection, is an episode from that Nova Scotia childhood with the madness of her mother lurking always in the background and captures remarkably well the wonder children feel when the world around them is so big and foreign In a Filling Station , First Death in Nova Scotia and Sestina also look back to a childhood before 1920 or so.I must admit, I was disappointed by this third collection by Bishop after loving A Cold Spring and North and South Bishop gets so caught up in South American exotica that the poems lack theuniversal meanings Plus, the Brazil poems are long winded and don t have the concision of earlier Bishop I ve started wondering if drink Bishop had a lifelong struggle with alcoholism was starting to have a detrimental effect on her poetry In any event, the best introduction to Bishop is the Library of America volume ISBN 1598530178 of poems, prose and letters, and if you get that, you ll have Questions of Travel too UPDATE TheI read of Yeats, Merrill, and Ginsberg, the less I think of other poets And right now, my second reading of Homer s Illiad is just blowing me away Originally, I had rated this a four star read, but I can t even recall reading it, so I ve taken away a star.ORIGINAL REVIEWI enjoyed thisthan two previous collections by Bishop I particularly liked the end of a poem entitled Questions of Travel Continent, city, country, society the choice is never wide and never free.And UPDATE TheI read of Yeats, Merrill, and Ginsberg, the less I think of other poets And right now, my second reading of Homer s Illiad is just blowing me away Originally, I had rated this a four star read, but I can t even recall reading it, so I ve taken away a star.ORIGINAL REVIEWI enjoyed thisthan two previous collections by Bishop I particularly liked the end of a poem entitled Questions of Travel Continent, city, country, society the choice is never wide and never free.And here, or thereNo Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be I think we ve all questioned ourselves about the definition of home And another poem, First Death in Nova Scotia is haunting and beautiful Bishop observes, in Filling Station , a dilapidated shack behind the pumps She questions the placement of an extraneous begonia and an embroidered doily on worn wickerwork But somebody embroidered the doily and somebody waters the plant so Bishop concludes that Somebody loves us all I m currently working my way through Elizabeth Bishop s oeuvre Her habitual dispassionateness still leaves me cold at times I realize that many critics consider this quality to be one of Bishop s crown virtues still, over time, I ve developed appreciation for her intelligence and her uncompromising embrace of complexity I ve heardthan one of my acquaintances rave with what I feel is inordinate enthusiasm about the greatness of the Bishop poem entitled Sestina, but I think the receiv I m currently working my way through Elizabeth Bishop s oeuvre Her habitual dispassionateness still leaves me cold at times I realize that many critics consider this quality to be one of Bishop s crown virtues still, over time, I ve developed appreciation for her intelligence and her uncompromising embrace of complexity I ve heardthan one of my acquaintances rave with what I feel is inordinate enthusiasm about the greatness of the Bishop poem entitled Sestina, but I think the received form in which Bishop does her best work in this collection is the ballad form in The Burglar of Babylon, she makes writing a traditional style ballad seem easy, which it most definitely is not Brazil iscolorful but less careful than Elsewhere. A really nice collection of poems about travel that is so unsentimental Where other writers would take a theme or event and make it wet and heavy, Bishop approaches it coolly there s something nearly cruel and vicious about the way she deals with tragedy and sadness I love most of these poems This book was seriously fantastic