Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) was not a prolific poet, but her body of work is a substantial one and marks her out as one of the great poets of the twentieth century. However, the newcomer may find it difficult to find a good starting-point.
By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
‘One Art’ is a poem by the American poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), first published in the New Yorker in 1976 and included in her collection Geography III the following year. The poem, which is one of the most famous examples of the villanelle form, is titled ‘One Art’ because the poem is about Bishop’s attempts to make loss and poetry into one unified ‘art’: to ‘master’ what she calls the ‘art of losing’.