Elizabeth Bishop | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 23 pages of analysis & critique of Elizabeth Bishop.
This section contains 5,019 words
(approx. 17 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Helen Vendler

SOURCE: Vendler, Helen. “The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop.” Critical Inquiry 13, no. 4 (summer 1987): 825-38.

In the following essay, Vendler discusses Bishop's major metaphors, as well as influences on her poetry.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) wrote in her fifties a revealing set of monologues attributed to three ugly tropical animals—a giant toad, a strayed crab, and a giant snail. These prose poems contain reflections on Bishop's self and her art. The giant toad says,

          My eyes bulge and hurt. … They see too much, above, below, and yet there is not much to see. … I feel my colors changing now, my pigments gradually shudder and shift over. … 
          [I bear] sacs of poison … almost unused poison … my burden and my great responsibility. 

The crab says,

I believe in the oblique, the indirect approach, and I keep my feelings to myself. … My shell is tough and tight. … I admire compression, lightness, and agility...

(read more)

This section contains 5,019 words
(approx. 17 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Helen Vendler
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Critical Essay by Helen Vendler from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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