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Elizabeth Bishop

A Miracle for Breakfast

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


“A shapely experiment, mixing memoir with biography . . . [Elizabeth Bishop] fuses sympathy with intelligence, sending us back to Bishop’s marvelous poems.” — Wall Street Journal
Since her death in 1979, Elizabeth Bishop, who published only one hundred poems in her lifetime, has become one of America’s most revered poets. And yet she has never been fully understood as a woman and artist. Megan Marshall makes incisive and moving use of a newly discovered cache of Bishop’s letters to reveal a much darker childhood than has been known, a secret affair, and the last chapter of her passionate romance with Brazilian modernist designer Lota de Macedo Soares.
     By alternating the narrative line of biography with brief passages of memoir, Megan Marshall, who studied with Bishop in her storied 1970s poetry workshop at Harvard, offers the reader an original and compelling glimpse of the ways poetry and biography, subject and biographer, are entwined.
“Marshall is a skilled reader who points out the telling echoes between Bishop’s published and private writing. Her account is enriched by a cache of revelatory, recently discovered documents . . . Marshall’s narrative is smooth and brisk: an impressive feat.” — New York Times Book Review

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 31, 2016 – Marshall, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography for Margaret Fuller, takes an excursion through the life of Elizabeth Bishop (1911 1979), one of 20th-century America's foremost poets. After surviving a troubled childhood with a sadistic uncle, a modest inheritance allowed Bishop to attend Vassar and afterward gave her the freedom to pursue poetry. Lovers led her from Paris to Key West to Petr polis, Brazil. Bishop drank heavily and had to keep her lesbianism secret, but she also led a rich existence; she traveled the Amazon, swam naked in a lover's pool in secluded Petr polis, and all the while produced a small but incomparable body of art. Marshall, weaving her own encounters with Bishop in the 1970s into this biography, expertly shows this charmed and sometimes sad life in intelligent, clear, and beautiful prose. Marshall repeatedly asserts that Bishop was "shy" but never reconciles this descriptor with the woman she shows interviewing T.S. Eliot, editing the Vassar yearbook, and finding a fashionable literary clique. Likewise, how was this winsome woman "difficult," as repeatedly claimed? But even if the poet herself remains elusive in this telling, this book is still a generous, enjoyable piece of work.
Elizabeth Bishop
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Dec 05, 2017
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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