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Elizabeth Bishop

  • Someone loves us all.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "Filling Station," in The New Yorker ()
  • ... are you aware an iceberg takes repose / with you, and when it wakes may pasture on your snows?

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "The Imaginary Iceberg," North and South ()
  • This iceberg cuts its facets from within. / Like jewelry from a grave / it saves itself perpetually and adorns / only itself ...

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "The Imaginary Iceberg," North and South ()
  • The short, half-tone scale of winter weathers / is a spread pigeon's wing. / Winter lives under a pigeon's wing, a dead wing with damp feathers.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "Paris, 7 a.m.," North and South ()
  • Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily / like a dog looking for a place to sleep in, / listen to it growling.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "Little Exercise," North and South ()
  • Democracy in the contemporary world demands, among other things, an educated and informed people.

  • What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life / in our bodies, we are determined to rush / to see the sun the other way around?

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • title poem, Questions of Travel ()
  • Oh, must we dream our dreams / and have them, too?

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • title poem, Questions of Travel ()
  • Is it lack of imagination that makes us come / to imagined places, not just stay at home?

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • title poem, Questions of Travel ()
  • ... a bird arranges / two notes at right angles.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "Sunday, 4 a.m.," Questions of Travel ()
  • Her face is closed as a nut, / closed as a careful snail / or a thousand-year-old seed.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "House Guest," The Complete Poems ()
  • The art of losing isn't hard to master ...

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • "One Art," Geography III ()
  • There are some people whom we envy not because they are rich or handsome or successful, although they may be all or any of these, but because everything they are or do seems to be all of a piece, so that even if they wanted to they could not be or do otherwise.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • in Robert Giroux, ed., The Collected Prose ()
  • [On Marianne Moore:] If she speaks of a chair you can practically sit on it.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • c. 1934, in D. Kalstone, Becoming a Poet ()
  • So many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • 1969, in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • When you write my epitaph, you must say I was the loneliest person who ever lived.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • 1948, in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • Sometimes it seems ... as though only intelligent people are stupid enough to fall in love & only stupid people are intelligent enough to let themselves be loved.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • Once more I am overcome by my own amazing sloth and unmannerliness. Can you please forgive me and believe that it is really because I want to do something well that I don't do it at all?

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • 1937, in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • I am sorry for people who can't write letters. But I suspect also that you and I ... love to write them because it's kind of like working without really doing it.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • 1953, in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • ... if after I read a poem, the world looks like that poem for 24 hours or so, I'm sure it's a good one ...

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • 1962, in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • Being a poet is one of the unhealthier jobs — no regular hours, so many temptations!

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • 1963, in Robert Giroux, ed., Elizabeth Bishop: One Art ()
  • As to experience — well, think how little some good poets have had, or how much some bad ones have.

    • Elizabeth Bishop,
    • letter to May Swenson (1955), in Robert Giroux and Lloyd Schwartz, Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters ()

Elizabeth Bishop, U.S.-born Brazilian poet

(1911 - 1979)