One Art - Elizabeth Bishop

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To Love, is to Lose

The most prominent quality of Elizabeth Bishop’s, “One Art,” remains the concise organization and rhyme scheme of the poem, which amazingly keeps the audience informed at all times what the theme. Her choice of a villanelle constantly reminds the audience that “the art of losing” always seem easy until one loses something so much more than an inanimate object and at the point, it does become a “disaster.” Written in 1976, the poem is very modern and uses an impeccable rhyme scheme, diction, and imagery to convey the hints of misery and frantic the speaker feels. In the opening of the poem, the speaker immediately begins to ponder about “the art of losing.” By writing “the art of losing isn’t hard to master,” she sets the mood of her piece as somewhat of a recollection of how un-difficult it is to lose something (1). Though by repeating it in lines 6 and 12, she puts emphasis on the words and seems to want that line to be the truth. The speaker then lists items in each stanza that she has once lost and that it wasn’t something of significance to care so much. The speaker continues with how the process of losing something just takes “practice” (7) and again, it “won’t be a disaster” (9). While she seems nonchalant that losing items and “none of these will bring disaster (9), it is clear that by the end of line 16, there is a particular person that she seems to have a tough time losing. The speaker writes, “Even losing you (the joking voice a gesture / I love, I shan’t lie it’s evident,” (16-17) as if writing to someone particular in a sarcastic and fake humorous way—showing a side that seems a little more vulnerable than the rest of the poem. By the end of the poem, the speaker’s diction illustrates some sort of pain and she concludes with a lone, “though it may look like (Write it!) disaster” (19)—as she forces herself to write the last line subconsciously. After reading this, it is as if the entire were a façade and that her confident...
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