Personal Response to Elizabeth Bishop
The poetry of Elizabeth Bishop appeals to me because she writes about things which are relevant, in a remarkably vivid and vital way. Bishops misfortune in life has inspired her to write distressing poems in which she describes to us the loss she suffered at an early stage in her childhood. She also tells us about her deepest and darkest moments in life. Out of Bishops troubled life, her poetry was born. Bishop has a painter's eye and she vividly describes the world around her. She has a keen eye for detail and this is shown in the descriptive language in her poetry. Her strong sense of imagery draws the reader into her poetry. The themes exploded in Bishops poetry have universal appeal. What makes Bishops poetry particularly appealing is her ability to make ordinary everyday objects seem fascinating. Through Bishops poetry we see how close observation leads the poet to have several moments of awareness where she experiences several epiphanies. These moments of awareness are highly dramatic but extremely interesting. The poems ‘Sestina’, ‘First Death In Novia Scotia’, ‘Filling Station’, ‘The Fish', 'The Armadillo' and ‘The Prodigal’ all demonstrate various issues such as nature and childhood memories.
What appealed to me most about Bishop’s poetry was her use of striking and powerful imagery. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Fish' for its unusual imagery and detailed description. I was drawn into the poem immediately as she says, 'I caught a tremendous fish'. She describes the fish as ‘battered’, ‘venerable’ and ‘homely'. Bishop then goes on to compare the fish to everyday domestic items. 'His brown skin hung in strips / like ancient wallpaper'. I found this statement particularly appealing as it evoked a sense of homely familiarity in me. Similarly in ‘The Prodigal’
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