2013 Elizabeth Bishop
20th Century American Poet
Issue Date: April 21, 2012
City: Los Angeles, CA
Printed By: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Perforations: Die cut 10 ¾ x 11
Orphaned by age five, Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) suffered loss and despair. Through the turmoil, she produced an impressive body of work.
After Bishop’s father died, her mother fell mentally ill and was institutionalized by 1916. She spent the rest of her childhood with relatives and endured lonelinesss that she would suffer most of her life.
At Vassar College, Bishop helped found a literary magazine and met one of the greatest influences on her work, poet Marianne Moore. Bishop’s writing often focused on the struggle to find a sense of belonging, grief, and longing. Yet her work also celebrated working-class settings including factories, farms, and fishing villages. Her work is renowned for her keen sense of observation and ability to describe scenes in vivid detail.
After school, Bishop traveled the world, but found her greatest inspirations in Key West, Florida, and Brazil, where she spent nearly 17 years. In Brazil, she found the greatest love of her life, Lota de Macedo Soares. Soares’ death in 1967 sent Bishop into a great depression that she thought marked the end of her creative career.
Eventually, Bishop began to write again, creating some of her finest work. Among her many honors, perhaps the greatest came in 1976 when she became the first American and first woman to receive the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.