Elizabeth Bishop is one of those poets that you always get stuck studying in school. I've had to read a Bishop poem in almost every poetry class I've ever had. And you know what? I'm not a fan. I've tried to like Bishop, to see in her what others have found. But I can't. She bores the shit out of me. Apologies to the literary canon, but it's true.
There is, however, one Bishop poem that I actually like. In my poetry workshop last week, we discussed her famous villanelle, "One Art." I love the way the repetitiveness of the villanelle form allows the speaker to get progressively get closer to the personal. I'm a big fan of poems that start out with big ideas and then zoom into the heart by the end. This is a prime example, and a fairly humorous one at that. Enjoy!
One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop