Bishop’s Praise Long After She’s Gone

April 4, 2006

Elizabeth Bishop: “You are living in a world created by Elizabeth Bishop…Nothing matches the impact of a great artist, and in the second half of the 20th Century, no Ameircan artist in any medium was greater than Bishop (1911-79).” That’s the start of David Orr’s review of Edgar Allan & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop, which Farrar, Straus & Giroux recently released. That’s not the entire story as noted by New York Times critic Motoko Rich. Apparently Helen Vendler, a prominent poetry critic, takes on poetry editor Alice Quinn for editing the work. Vendler wrote: “This book should not have been issued with its present subtitle of Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments. It should have been called Repudiated Poems. For Elizabeth Bishop had years to publish the poems included here, had she wanted to publish them.” (The Times provides a series of links to reviews and other pieces about Bishop.)

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