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The Lady and Gentleman of Shalott

The Early Poems of Elizabeth Bishop

Anne Stevenson

Wallace Stevens, in The Necessary Angel, gave it as his opinion that the purpose of poetry is to help people live their lives. Those of us who have made a study of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems would agree, I think, that they have helped a great many people live their lives. Yet, as David Kalstone remarked, Elizabeth Bishop has always been difficult to ‘place’. She found self-placement, both geographical and psychological, so difficult herself that we find two questions buried in most of her work: ‘Who I am?’ and ‘Where do I belong?’. I would like to suggest in this essay that Bishop did finally decide who she was and where she belonged. Like her own Prodigal, she made up her mind reluctantly, both before and after she went to live in Brazil, to go home to Nova Scotia. She could not live there, of course, since Nova Scotia was the landscape of the childhood that nourished her imagination; nor was that childhood an easy one to return to. But she knew she belonged in Great Village once she began to help herself to live her life by writing about it.

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Anne Stevenson and John Haynes

Of Science Poems edited by David Morley and Andy Brown (Tonbridge: Worpole Press, 2001) ISBN 0 9530947 4 X paperback £6.00

Omm Sety by John Greening (Shoestring Press, 2001) ISBN 1 899549 51 X £5.95

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Marvellous Makers

Terrible Destroyers

Ruth O'Callaghan and Anne Stevenson

Anne Stevenson interviewed by Ruth O’Callaghan

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Richard Poole, Anne Stevenson, Barry Cole, and Linda Kemp

The Three Wise Monkeys RICHARD POOLE

Who’s Joking with the Photographer? ANNE STEVENSON

Samuel Locke of Boston BARRY COLE

Enchantment of Mina Loy LINDA KEMP

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Catherine Byron, Adrian Caesar, Philip Callow, Barry Cole, George Dandoulakis, Angela Leighton, Clare MacDonald Shaw, John Mole, Tom Paulin, Peter Porter, Philip Ramp, Arnold Rattenbury, Maurice Rutherford, William Scammell, Matt Simpson, Mahendra Solanki, Anne Stevenson, Tim Thorne, John Tranter, Dimitris Tsaloumas, Gael Turnbull, and Hugh Underhill

St Thomas Aquinas in MacNeice’s House, September 23rd, 1957

In an Australian Garden

Red Wine and Yellow Sun

For a Cornet Player, Retired

The Altar of the Motherland (trans.: Andreas Kalvos)

Looking at Pictures

Street Flowers

Fats

Oxford

The Puppy of Heaven

The Island Market

More Friggers for John: 22: Convict Tokens 1815-1840; 23: Trench Art 1914-1918

Only Connect

Self Improvement

Taking the Hexameter a Walk – a letter to John Lucas

From ‘The Riverside’

A Ballad for Apothecaries, Being a Poem to Honour the Memory of Nicholas Culpeper, Gent …

The Aisles

Sails

Aegina

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Mémoire Involontaire