Elizabeth Bishop's 100th Birthday

Nova Scotia has a year of events planned to celebrate Pulitzer Prize -winning poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979).

Bishop's maternal grandparents took care of her for year in their home near the Bay of Fundy when she was 4. Her father died when she was just a baby, and  her mother was committed to the Dartmouth sanitorium after a series of nervous breakdowns.

“Bishop has emerged as one of the most important and widely discussed American poets of the 20th century,” Bishop scholar Thomas Travisano says. “But she published comparatively little in her lifetime, and the standard image of her as a writer and a person has been continuously revised in recent years. This is due in part to the intense critical activity her work has generated and in part to the ongoing posthumous publication of powerful and revealing poems and other writings that remained in manuscript at the time of her death.” 

She is now being widely read as "a poet of audacious yet masterly skills and of considerable, if often latent, emotional power". 

Bishop taught at Harvard for seven years.

One Art

 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 every day.  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 like (Write it!) like disaster.