2647 - Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop: Selected Poems
Although Bishop met Lowell when she was in her thirties and they remained lifelong friends, their backgrounds, preoccupations, and poetry were different. Lowell wrote poems about his parents and other antecedents; Bishop’s father died when she was an infant and her mother was institutionalized as insane when she was five. Lowell was interested in the effect of Puritanism on his time, he was a conscientious objector during WW II, and he opposed the war in Vietnam, supporting Eugene McCarthy for president in 1968. Bishop did not often turn to history or politics in her poetry, and did not tend to write about great events like WW II or Vietnam. Unlike Lowell, she was never confessional in her poetry. Travel, place, exile, and identity are some of Bishop’s themes; her poetry is often called reticent, understated, and restrained. We will have weekly reading assignments, and discuss in class poems from the assignments. Lecture (plus Questions); Facilitated Discussion; Viewing Videos
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