Monday, August 29, 2011

Poem of the Week: "One Art," by Elizabeth Bishop

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

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