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The Ell7.

abeth Bishop Bulletin, edited by Thomas Travisano,

is asemi-annual publication of the Elizabeth Bishop Society.
Advisory Board:
J acqueline Vaught Brogan (Intemet:J acqueline.
Dept of English. Notre Dame University
South Bend, IN 56556 (219) 233-7958
Margaret Dickie(
Dept of English, Uof Georgia,
Athens, GA 30606 (706) 548-8969
Marilyn May Lombardi
Dept. of English, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
Greensboro, NC27412 (919) 334-5384
Barbara Page (Internet: "")
.Dept. of English, VISsar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 (914) 437-5950
Thomas Travisano (Internet: "")
Department of English, Hartwick College
Oneonta, NY 13820 (607) 431-4907
This Issue &Beyond . ~. "
This issue reports on confer- ~'~'~'
allover theglobe. It updates hap- .
peningsinGreatVillage,NovaScotia. It
offers.noteson Bishop's continuingpresencein
theliteraryand artistic circles of NewY ork City. It cites four
importantrecentor forthcomingbooks-reviews of whichwill
appear in the next issue. Andit provides details on a major
forthcomingBishopconferencetobeheldOctober9-12, 1997,
1911andthesiteof twoof hermostpowerful writings,thepoem
"IntheWaitingRoom," andtheposthumouslypublishedmem-
oir "TheCountry Mouse."
Lookinthewinter 1996issuenotonlyforwiththereviews
just mentioned,but foranupdatedbibliographyof publications
appearing since the earlier bibliography in v. 2, no. 1, the
summer 1993issue. Please send me citations of pieces, by
yourself or others, that have appeared on Bishopin 1993or
thereafter, especially if these are not yet cited in theMLA
Bibliography. Giventheglobal natureof the_undertaking,it is
becoming both moreexciting, and ever morechallenging, to
cover theglobal Bishop"scene," Y our editor must hencerely
onsocietymembersfor Bishop-relatednews.Please passnews
items to me byphone (607-431-4907), fax (607-433-0909),
email (}-orbysnailmailatHartwick
College. Oneonta, New Y ork 13820.
Thomas Travisano, Editor
Over thepastseveral months, your faithful,ifincreasingly
overcommitted, editor-even as hestruggled toget this"sum-
mer" issue inunder the"equinoctial" wire-has grownaccus-
tomed to receiving Bishop-related mail, bothpaper and elec-
tronic, fromcorrespondents writingfromas far awayas India,
Brazil, Hong Kong, England, Germany andJ apan. (l "apolo-
gizehereand now" for thefrequent tardinessof myreplies to
these valued correspondents.) This correspondence, and my
own "rare. although occasional visits" to foreign places, has
madeyour all-too-office-boundeditor cometorecognize. per-
hapsbelatedly, theincreasinglyglobal scopeof BishopStudies.
Thankstoadvocacy-s-onarecentreadingtourof NewZealand
andAustralia-by poet, Hartwick colleagueandSociety stal-
wart Carol Frost-the Society has linked up with a core of
Bishopenthusiasts in theSouthwesternPacific. It nowboasts
memberson eachof thisplanet's inhabited continents.
Bishopservedas atouchstoneinNobel LaureateSeamus
Hearty's recent contemplationThe Redress of Poetry. Bishop
herself never won the big prize, but many Nobel Laureates,
includingPabloNeruda, OctavioPaz, andDerekWalcott.have
held her poetry in high esteem. Persistent praiseby laureates
fromIreland, Chile, Mexico, andtheislandof St. Luciaunder-
scorestheinternationalismof herappeal.WhatI' vecalled"The
Elizabeth Bishop Phenomenon"-that phenomenal recent
growthof interest inBishop's work whichI havebeencharting
inthesepages since 1991andthat I exploredindetail inNew
Literary History (Autumn1995,903-93)-has thustakenonan
international character that I my recent essay-since repub- .
lishedinGendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and
Their Readers (U. of PennsylvaniaPress, March1996)--did
obvious, even to me, that the "Bishop Phenomenon" is no
longer amonopoly of theUnitedStates. Canada. or Brazil the
nations that most oftenlay claimto apieceof her legacy.
Bishop was herself a global observer, her perspectiveat
once"cosmopolitan"-as Paznoted-and alertandloyal tothe
diverse particulars of diverse localities. Thus, the interest in
Bishopspringingupatlocal centersallover theglobe-as these
centersgrowmoreawareboth of theirgrowingglobal intercon-
nection and of their resiliently individual character-is a re-
sponsetoprescient elementsinBishop's work:itspostmodern
flexibility and sense of scale. its telling, always dynamic
treatment of the competing claims of the personal and the
cultural, thenativeand theforeign, thelocal andtheglobal.
Volume5, Number 1
'All the untidy activity conttnues:' Summer 1996
Bishop Studies Goes Global
The Elizabeth Bishop Bulletin
ing: Elizabeth Bishop's Use of Form"
ALADialectics: Bishop in San Diego
At theAmerican Literature Association conference in San
Diego, May 30-iune 2, 1996J acqueline V. Brogan, astalwart
of the Bishop and Stevens Societies, and an ALA board mem-
ber, chaired a double-panel exploring "Stevens, Bishop, and
Contemporary Male Poets," afollow-up to the ALA panels she
chaired in 1995 on Bishop and Contemporary Women Poets.
Papers on thetwo panels included "'The Anguish Coming Only
Now to Light': J ames Merrill's Elizabeth Bishop,"Thomas
Travisano, Hartwick College; "The Surrealist Lineage of
Stevens, Bishop and Ashbery,"Susan McCabe, Arizona State
University; "On Stevens, Bishop, and Olson,"Don Wellman,
Daniel Webster College; "Stevens, Bishop, and Ammons,"
GudrnGrabher, UniversityofInnsbruck; and"Candor inStevens,
Bishop, and Ashbery," Robert Gamboa, University of Calif or-
nia, Berkeley. Brogan is the guest editor of the altogether
"special" Stevens /Bishop issueoftheWallace Stevens Journal
(v. 19, no. 2: Fall 1995).
Elizabeth Bishop Panel ill: .
This session's panelists focused explicitly onBishop"'ffild
other poets. They read Bishop's antimilitarism during theCold
War culture of "containment" inconjunction with Sylvia Plath's
pacifism, considered her affinities with J ohn Ashbery and
explored their commonly shared homotextuaiiry and gay
semiotica, and offered a memorable lyrical meditation on
Bishop' s complex legacy to contemporary poets.
Chair: Meg Schoerke, San Francisco State University
Camille Roman, Washington State University: "Writing
Against the Cold War: Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Platti'';
J ames McCorkle: "J ohn Ashbery and Elizabeth Biihop
and the Lyric Temperament" , 2 '
Kim Vaeth, Simmons College: "Revealing and CorldeaJ .-
.. 1.~.
*Note: Society Members in Boldface
Bishop at Orono, Maine: IIAmerican
Poetry in the 1950s" Conference .
Camille Roman, Washington State University
'''Resolution andIndependence' inthe 1950s?: Elizabeth Bishop
and the Crisis of Lyric Poetry"
Renee Curry, California State University, San Marcos:
'" A Sort of Inheritance; White': Elizabeth Bishop, Poetry, and
Selective SelfReflection on Whiteness"
Elizabeth Bishop's positioning asamajor figure in Ameri- Leslie Hatcher, University of Georgia: "Elizabeth Bishop's
can poetry was once again confirmed at the "American Poetry 'Visits to St. Elizabeths'"
in the 1950s" Conference sponsored by the National Poetry Elizabeth Bishop Panel il:
Foundation at the University of Maine, Orono, J une 19-23, Scholars onthis panel examined Bishop's meditative style
1996. Since literary conferences constitute important sites for primarily in relation to the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins,
thereconstruction or confirmation of poetic canons, itis signifi- considered her construction of her poetic subjectivity in~
cant that three panels were devoted to Bishop. Noplenary paper' raphy III, and explored her complex affiliation with generic
focused onher (though onehad in the 1993? NPF conference on revisions of American landscape painting.
"American Poetry in the 1930s, ed.], but the many lengthy Chair: Leslie Hatcher, University of Georgia
discussions about Bishop and the numerous casual references Mary M. Lacey, EarlhamCollege: "The Violet Was Flawed
both to her and her work that seemed to surround me at the ontheLawn: Problems of Religious BeliefinElizabethBishop's
conference confirmed once more her forceful and continuing A Cold Spring"
presence. Shortly after the conference began, I began to think Elizabeth Nettrour, Duquesne University: "Elizabeth
of Bishop as a kind of "traveler" whose questions often pen- Bishop's 'Geography III': 'The Art of Losing' Referential
etrated well beyond the boundaries of the three panels specifi- Meaning" '%"'
cally devoted to her. Priscilla Paton, Florida Atlantic University: "Lost Pros-
Bishop "travelled" into papers in panel sessions on other peers: Elizabeth Bishop and Poetic Landscapes" ;
poets and topics, into question-and-answer periods, into post-
panel discussions in hallways, into conversations over meals,
into plenary papers, and into post-plenary give-and-take. Prof.
Virginia Koudis of Auburn University, for example, explored
Bishop's omission from mid-century anthologies in her paper
"Anthology Omissions: Rukeyser, Brooks, Bishop" in the
nonfsishop panel session "Marginalities." Not surprisingly,
discussion of Bishop surfaced following the paper "Robert
Lowell and the Shattered Image of Home" by Prof. Steven
Axelrod, The University of California, Riverside during a
Robert Lowell panel session. Prof. Louis Martz, Yale Univer-
sity. cited Bishop in his plenary address as one of his poetry
"discoveries" during the 1950s when he was writing major
poetry reviews. When I commented briefly to Prof. Charles
Altieri*, University of California, Berkeley. onmy sighting of
askunk at theconference that might beworked into his plenary
session commentary onLowell's "Skunk Hour," hereplied that
it would be fitting tofind a moose for Bishop nearby as well.
Bishop was clearly part of the American poetry context at the
The three panels on Bishop opened new "territories" for
Bishop studies and offered critical reappraisals of current
"mappings" of her work. I found that Bishop's characteristic
strategies of negotiation, as well as her proverbial understated
revelations and concealments, proved tobea "common ground"
among the papers regardless of their topics or treatments.
Elizabeth Bishop Panel I:
This session's papers included a theoretically-informed
treatment of Bishop andlyricpoetry. aninterrogation of Bishop 's
inability to recognize herself as a "white woman writer," and a
consideration of Bishop's negotiations of Pound's influence
upon herself and her generation of poets.
Chair: J ennifer Pixley, University of Maine
Wendy VerHage Falb, Michigan State University:
Summer 1996 Volume 5,Number 1 The Elizabeth Bishop Bulletin
Conferencepaper submissions and inquiriesmaybedirected,
at theaboveaddress, to theConference Co-Chairs
Profs. Angela Dorenkamp andLaura J ehn Menides
Telephone: (508) 892-9369
Elizabeth Bishop Conference and
Poetry Festival, October 9-12, 1997
Worcester, Massachusetts
(What follows is a press release from the Worcester County
Poetry Association, Ed.)
The Worcester County Poetry Association (WCPA), in
conjunction with several colleges and cultural institutions in
Worcester, issponsoringanElizabeth BishopConferenceand
Poetry Festival fromOctober 9 to 12, 1997. The event will
honorWorcester-bornpoet Elizabeth Bishop.
Participatingip theeventwill bescholarsandpoets from
thelocal area, andfromall over theUnitedStates andbeyond.
Like the successful and well-attended Stanley Kunitz Poetry
Festival which theWCPA sponsored in 1985, theElizabeth
Bishopevent will beheld throughout Worcester.
Institutions that have agreed to co-sponsor the event
include: The Colleges of Worcester Consortium, Assumption
College,Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University,
Worcester StateCollege, HolyCrossCollege, Becker College,
the Worcester Historical Museum, the Worcester Public Li-
brary, theShrewsburyPublic Library and theAmerican Anti-
quarian Society.
Plans for the Elizabeth Bishop Conference and Poetry
Festival include:
-Papers and panel discussions. Especially welcome are
papers which speak to Bishop'S connections with Worcester
andwith family members who resided intheWorcester
area. OtherpapersrelatingtoBishop ". .
andherwork maybeonliteraryinflu- .
ences, prose works, translations,
biography andpolitics.
-Poetry readings by nationally known andlocal poets.
-Tour of Bishop sites in Worcester, including her birth
place site, her grandparents' house, thechurch they attended
andBishop's grave(newly inscribed) inHopeCemetery.
-An exhibit of materialsrelated to theBishopCompany,
buildersof mansionsinRhodeIsland, alibraryinBoston, and
houses' in other areas of New England. Elizabeth Bishop's
father and grandfather wereexecutives inthis company.
-Artexhibitof ElizabethBishop's drawingsandpaintings.
-Inaddition, TheWorcester Review, apublication of the
WCPA, will publishan ElizabethBishopissuein conjunction
For moreinformationcontact:
Carle J ohnson, ExecutiveDirector
Worcester County Poetry Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 336
Worcester, Massachusetts 01613
Bishop and Ashbery: A Conference at
England's University of Reading
Thomas Trauisano, editor
For thosefortunateenoughtoattend, theBishopIAshbery
conferenceorganized-and graciouslyhosted-by Lionel Kelly
attheUniversity of Reading fromJ uly15-17wasanexperience
that will linger in memory. Ashbery (b. 1927), was just
nineteenwhenhe"read, reread, studiedandabsorbed"North &
South (1946) on its first appearance.AndAshbery found him-
self "unable toexhaust themeaningsandmysteries" of subse-
quent Bishop poems like "Over 2,000 Illustrations" (1948).
Though only one paper directly compared these two poets,
characterized in theconference circular as "the most admired
North American poets of recent times," paper after paper
delineated elements of the common ground that Bishop and
Ashbery explored inparallel for threedecades.
A merelistingof thepresentersonBishop,andtheirtitles,
maysuggesttherangeof theunfoldingdiscussionHugh Haugh-
ton, University of York, setthestagewith"ThePoet'sBishop."
These talks followed: Mark Ford, University College, Lon-
don, "Mont d'Espoir or Mount Despair: Early Bishop, Early
Ashbery and theFrench;"Thomas Travisano, Hartwick Col-
lege, USA, "Elizabeth Bishop and the Origins of Narrative
Postmodernism:"HelenDennis, Universityof Warwick,"Ques-
tionsof Travel': Elizabeth BishopandtheNegativeSublime;"
J oanne Feit Diehl. University of California, Davis, USA,
"AggressionandReparation: BishopandtheMatter-Of-Fact;"
Barbara Page, Vassar College, USA, "Stops and Starts in
Bishop'sWork: A Study of PoeticProcessintheManuscripts;"
Cheryl Walker, Scripps College, USA, "Metaphysical Surre-
alism' and the Return of the Repressed inElizabeth Bishop's
Poetry." rhadtomiss talks on thefinal day bythetwoscholars
whohadcomethefarthest: Ann Dowd,HongKongUniversity,
"Elizabeth Bishop: thePoet as Maritimer," Peter Robinson,
Tokyo University, "Crusoe and thePoets: Elizabeth Bishop."
David Kalstone stated in the late 1970s, there"is something
about [Bishop's] work for which elegantly standard literary
analysis was not prepared." The richness, depth, range and
fluency of discussion on this international stage suggests that
thechallenges andrewards of Bishop's work, andtheeffortsof
scholars, critics and poets to come to grips with these, has
successfully stretched literary-analytic standards, just as
Shakespeare, Blake. Whitman, Dickinson,Stevens,andAuden
haddone before.
During animpromtu panel on"TheStateof BishopStud-
ies" featuringapanel includingFeitDiehl,Page,Travisano,and
Helen McNeil of the University of EastAngila, itbecameclear
that Bishop is avidly read and championedin Britian-as in
NorthAmerica-by poets andcriticswhocan otherwiseagree
on very little. British scholars wereinvitedtojoin theBishop
Societyandourranks wereswelledbyseveral newtransatlantic
members. Conferences like theoneLionel Kelly hasso skill-
fully staged in Reading not only serve to confirm Bishop's
global stature, but, more significantly, they are helping to
establish an inter-continental dialogueonBishop's work.
Summer 1996 Volume 5,Number 1 The Elizabeth Bishop Bulletin
Bishop's Shadow-Canon Expands:
Two Poems, Watercolor inNew Yorker
Society members are nodoubt awarethat twoprevi-
ously unpublished poems byElizabeth Bishopappearedin
The New Yorker's August 19issue; "Foreign-Domestic" and
u,A Lovely Finish... '" Sources indicatethatthesebrief
domestic poems--written with Bishop's usual wit, finesse,
and sensitivity to nuances of feeling-were selectedfromthe
widerange of unpublished work intheBishoparchiveat Along with William Cullen Bryant, an-
Vassar CollegebyNew Yorker poetry editor AliceQuinn, other Massachusettsnativewhodiedin
oneof many readers devoted tofosteringBishop's legacy._ 1878,just over acenturybeforeher
. Thesepoems aremerely themost recent of anextensiveand death in 1979, Elizabeth Bishop
important series of posthumous publications of Bishop wasinductedintoPoets' Comerat
poems andstories that haveappearedinThe New Yorker and TheCathedral of St, J ohntheDi-
elsewhere intheyears since Bishop's death. Inaforthcom- vine inNew York City during a
ingissue, wehopetoprovide acomprehensivebibliographic Vesper ServiceonSunday, Octo-
survey of thepublication of Bishoppoems, storiesand ber 15, 1995. Poet Frank Bidart and critic andfiction-writer
assorted prosethat have appeared sincethepublication of ElizabethHardwickreadselectionsfromBishop'spoemsatthe
The Complete Poems: 1927~1979(1983) andThe Collected ceremony. A stonebearingBishop's name, dates, andthelast
Prose (1984). These included pieces brought tolightover - linesof her poem'TheBight'''Alltheuntidy activitycontinues,
theyears byawiderange of scholars, editorsandpoets / awful butcheerful"-was dedicatedinPoets' Comer afterthe
including, among others, Gary Fountain, VictoriaHarrison, servicebytheVeryReverendJ amesParksMorton,Deanof the
DavidKalstone, Marilyn May Lombardi. AliceQuinn, Lloyd Cathedral. The sameinformation-name, dates, andthe last
Schwartz, Elizabeth Spires, andThomasTravisano. This two lines of "The Bight"-are due soon beengraved on the
bibliographic survey will attempt tobegin theprocessof gravemarker BishopshareswithherparentsinHopeCemetary
tracking of what might betermedtheshadow-canon of inWorcestor, Mass., thecityof her birth.
Bishop's oeurvre: thepublished, but uncollected, Elizabeth N Y k hi!
Bishop. ew or P . omusica Plays Bishop
Bishop's twopoems wereaccompaniedbyaremarkable Onat8:00PMonDecember 12, 1996,theworldpremiere
watercolor by Bishop that, accordingtotheNewYorker of composer J ohn Harbison's "North and South (poems of
caption, "dates fromthenineteen-forties." Seejust belowfor ElizabethBishop)" forrnezzo-soprano, flute.hom, violin, viola
newsof aforthcoming book reproducing thispicture. along &cello will share the New York Philornusica programat
withevery other piece of Bishop's knownartwork. MerkinConcertHall withworksbyHaydn.D'Indy andBrahms.
A Chat with William Benton, editor of Call (212) 580-9933for ticket information.
Exchanging Hats: EB's Painting. Briefly Noted: Four New Bishop Vols.
Poet andart critic WilliamBenton, aManhattan Four new volumes offering fresh and significant new
resident, is theeditor of theforthcomingExchanging Hats: facetsof Bishop's life, work, andinfluencearenowinprintor
Elizabeth Bishop's Paintings. Bentonistheauthor of eight aresoon forthcoming. Conversations with Elizabeth Bishop,
books of poetry, themost recent of whichisMarmalade, a edited by GeorgeMontiero, and collecting all known inter-
collaboration withthe artist J amesMcGarrell. I caught up viewswithBishop,includingtranslationsfromBraziliansources,
withBill, agracious and engaging conversationalist, ina appeared this summer fromUniversity of Mississippi Press.
telephone interviewjust as theBulietin wasgoingtopress. SandraBarry's Elizabeth Bishop: An Archival Guide to Her
Bentonwas thecurator of thedazzlingshowof Bishop's Life in Nova Scotia was published by theLancelot Press of
watercolors atKey West's East MartelloMuseuminJ anuary Hantsport, NovaScotia(order formenclosed). Appearingin
of 1993, whichbrought together acritical mass of this most theFall of 1995wasaspecial "StevensandElizabethBishop"
painterly of poet's artwork for thefirst time. I wasnot alone issueof The WallaceStevens Journaltv, 19,no. 2). Forthcorn-
inbeingbowled over by theexcellenceof Bishop's painting. ingthisOctober isWilliamBenton'sExchanging Hats:Eliza-
Exchanging Hats contains fortypictures, all thatBenton beth Bishop's Pictures (seep. 4for details).
alongwithalengthy introductionbyBenton, hiscommen-
tary oneverypicture, andaconcludingselectionof relevant
extractsfromBishop's lettersandprose. Thisvolume, 128
pageslong, will bepublishedbyFarrar, Straus&Girouxin
October of 1996.Lookfor areviewinour nextissue.
AccordingtoBenton, therewill beanexhibit of
Bishop's watercolorsat Tibor DeNagy Galleryopening
December 5. Gallery isat41W. 57St., NY, NY10019.
Bentonaddsthat whenheaskedabuyer at themega-chain
Barnes&Noble, whichwill becarryinghisvolume, if there
wereany signs of theboomof interestinBishopdyingout,
saidbuyer replied, "No, Itjust keepsgettingbiggerI"
"All the Untidy Activity Continues"
at Cathedral of st. J ohn the Divine-
Bishop in Gotham: A Miscellany

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