Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a brilliantly rendered life of one of our most admired American poets
Since her death in 1979, Elizabeth Bishop, who published only one hundred poems in her lifetime, has become one of America’s most revered poets. And yet—painfully shy and living out of public view in far-flung locations like Key West and Brazil—she has never been seen so fully as a woman and artist. Megan Marshall makes incisive and moving use of a newly discovered cache of Bishop’s letters—to her psychiatrist and to three of her lovers—to reveal a much darker childhood than has been known, a secret affair, and the last chapter of her passionate romance with Brazilian modernist designer Lota de Macedo Soares.
These elements of Bishop’s life, along with her friendships with fellow poets Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell, both important champions of her work, are brought to life with novelistic intensity. And by alternating the narrative line of biography with brief passages of memoir, Megan Marshall, who studied with Bishop in her storied 1970s poetry workshop at Harvard, offers the reader an original and compelling glimpse of the ways poetry and biography, subject and biographer, are entwined.
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